Shanaya (Shehnaaz Treasurywala) is in luv with Vivan (Himesh Baba). Her sister asks her “Kya dekha tumne usme?” Guffaws echoed in the theater. She replies, “He is a very simple guy and has a kinda vulnerability!” Bingo. Vulnerability is the word. I finally got word to describe Himesh Baba’s impenetrable expressions, which kept baffling me until then. Himesh Baba was vulnerable. He could be the first Indian actor to depict vulnerability so effortlessly. I knew Radio couldn’t be a simple love story with simple emotions, conflicts and resolutions. But still my snobbish pre-notions about bollywood were not ready to accept the complications of Radio. Snobs like me go ga-ga over subtle acting in European cinema, but when it comes to hindi cinema we are overpowered by our notions and biases and bash every performance. But here Himesh Baba delivers a slap in our face with the baap of all subtle performances. I challenge you to decipher even a single expression of his without getting confused. See, that is the point of the film, it is about confused characters. And that confusion transcends to the audience, who are literally put in the character’s shoes. Sooper!!!
If you thought Kaminey was fast paced, confusing and left threads hanging with help of its non spoon-feeding script, wait until you watch Radio. It is unbelievably confusing and fast paced, and you’ll have to up your ante to keep pace with the movie. “Are you watching closely?” Radio ensures that your grey cells work overtime and as a result delivers a cerebral experience. And it also tests your Class-quotient thoroughly. If you thought the relationships in Love Aaj Kal were too urban or too casual, Radio will give you a clear picture of where you stand on the urban relationships knowledge scale. I think Radio may just be out of your league.
Ishaan Trivedi’s screenplay is for the keeps. He takes cue from Tarantino on fractured narrative and use of music with visuals, and gives it a desi spin to deliver a choppy, disjointed and exhilarating romantic comedy. If Tarantino would have dabbled hands in the rom com genre, he would made something like Radio. It’s smart and senseless at the same time.
Radio, in parts is so classy for hindi mainstream that people will be left scratching their head. Things which were never considered in hindi pickchur, things like compatibility, closure, defense mechanism, denial mode, fuck buddies and so on, are sprinkled so casually in the screenplay that I am in awe of the casualness of the movie in handling such complicated concepts and issues. Radio is indeed hip and cool. And is also a lesson in the progressive modern life fundas and lingo.
Technically Radio falls in the Romantic musical genre. Songs, which are all chartbusters, overpower the visuals so emphatically that you are lost in the beats of the songs and wonder what the hell are the visuals about. I’m telling you Radio is not an easy watch. It’s a difficult watch, very much like any festival film. It gets bizarre in places. It is inaccessible at places. I’m sure the voice over was added in the film as an afterthought, just to aid the lowest common denominator in the audience with the going ons. Without the voiceover, it is an incomprehensible and impenetrable character portrait of Himesh Baba and the two girls who are madly into him.
And a word of caution for guys, please refrain from watching this film with your girlfriend/wife. You will burn with envy when she will swoon for Himesh Baba 🙂
Note: This review was originally written in 2009 after the release of the film but now re-edited and published for the following reasons-
1. The author himself is in hibernation these days
2. Himesh Reshammiya the actor also seems to have gone into hibernation now 🙂