Farcial take on the Bollywood industry's onscreen conventions and off-screen corruption, writer-helmer Rajat Kapoor's soph feature "Raghu Romeo" offers lively silliness that may impress home-turf viewers as refreshing. Offshore, tube and tape sales are signaled.

A farcial take on the Bollywood industry’s onscreen conventions and off-screen corruption, writer-helmer Rajat Kapoor’s soph feature “Raghu Romeo” offers lively silliness that may impress home-turf viewers as refreshing. Offshore, broad humor, familiar themes and somewhat choppy storytelling (suggesting pic may have been shorn for Western auds) seem less likely to stir great interest. Tube and tape sales are signaled.

Gangly Vijay Raaz plays Raghu, a guileless slum-dweller henpecked by mom at home and by the boss who seldom pays him at a girly club. In his naivete, Raghu thinks he must protect the virtue of that joint’s floozies from grabby clients — especially Sweety (Sadiya Siddiqui), a hitman’s honey whose cynical surface masks a soft spot for the clueless hero. But he only has eyes for Neeta, a quintessential TV-soap suffering-heroine played by not-so-nice thesp Reshma (newcomer Maria Goretti). Not able to distinguish between reel and real life, Raghu kidnaps the terrified actress when it turns out she’s on the hit-list (for failing to pay off the entertainment industry’s mob “protectors”). OK song segments pepper uneven tale; modest production sports colorful design aspects and annoyingly incomplete English subtitles.

Raghu Romeo

India

Production

An NFDC Cinematograph production. Produced, directed, by Rajat Kapoor. Screenplay, Kapoor, Saurabh Shukla.

Crew

Camera (color), Rafey Mahmood; editor, Suresh Pai; music, Pritam, Sanjeev Sharma; production designer, Mohammed Tanveer. Reviewed at AMC Kabuki, San Francisco, April 13, 2004. (In San Francisco Film Festival.) Running time: 99 MIN.

With

Vijay Raaz, Sadiya Siddiqui, Maria Goretti, Saurabh Shukla, Virendra Saxena, Vijay Patkar, Surekha Sikri.
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