A farmer’s beloved sis and an NRI tycoon’s boisterous son fall in love in the course of the garish wedding of the latter’s cousin who happens to be the former’s best friend.
All hell breaks loose when the family elders find out that the lovebirds have been getting cosy on the sly. The girl is accused of trying to ensnare a wealthy boy.
The young lovers are separated and the girl and her brother are thrown out of the party.
All this plays out to accompaniment of an ear-splitting background score. There is also a song-and-dance set piece at every turn. It is all predictable and tiresome.
If the plot reeks of Bollywood of the 1980s, it isn’t surprising at all: Ramaiya Vastavaiya, Prabhu Deva’s remake of his debut Telugu hit, owes its primary inspiration to Maine Pyar Kiya. Yes, this wine is that stale. No wonder it stinks.
Nothing in Prabhu Deva’s directorial style suggests that he is interested in the least in imparting a fresh coat of paint to this old construct.
To make sure that the past weighs heavy on the proceedings, the cast has actors like Vinod Khanna, Randhir Kapoor, Poonam Dhillon and Satish Shah.
Ironically, they are the only ones in this infantile romp who manage to stay just a little above the morass.
The rest of the film is so raucous and utterly tasteless that it is difficult to believe that any established producer would want it to be his son’s launch vehicle.
Ramaiya Vastavaiya opens in a jail, where a prisoner, Raghuvir (Sonu Sood), on the eve of his release, narrates to the warden the story behind his imprisonment.
Like much else in the film, it isn’t explained why the prison official needed to wait for the very last day of a lengthy sentence to find out why this man got here in the first place.
Cut to a village temple. A boy’s mother asks the priest to offer a coconut to the deity on behalf of her son and an infant daughter. It turns out that coconut is rotten on the inside – a bad omen.
The woman, abandoned by her husband, dies. The orphans are left to fend for themselves under the benign eyes of the local station master (Vinod Khanna).
By the time the credits end, the boy and the girl have grown up into an ideal brother-sister pair who vow to be by each other’s side all their lives.
The stage is set for the love story to unfold.
Thousands of miles away, in Australia, the boy, Ram (Girish Kumar) emerges from the sea, his gym-toned body bared for the camera, and then proceeds to frolic on Bondi Beach with a bevy of biki-clad girls as his hen-pecked dad (Randhir Kapoor) calls him to check on him.
The old man is a successful businessman, but loses his nerve before his foul-tempered wife (Poonam Dhillon).
At the other end of the spectrum is the heroine, Sona (Shruti Haasan), whose vehicle of choice is a bullock cart.
She has been brought up in a village by the afore-mentioned doting and hard working elder brother, who now owns a thriving poultry farm.
For the first time in her life, Sona leaves her brother alone and travels to her friend’s home for the latter’s wedding.
Ram arrives, his supercilious mother in tow, and falls head over heels for humble Sona even as a construction magnate (Nasser) has his eyes on him for his daughter, Dolly.
Dolly is the kind of bimbette that no right-thinking boy, even a spoilt brat like the one we have here, would touch with the end of a barge-pole. The frisky Ram, who prances about the house like little puppy freed from its leash, keeps her at arm’s length and inches closer to Sona.
The film is barely halfway into the first half at this point of the narrative, but the audience has already clearly drifted away, as the loud sniggers, snide comments and audible fidgets in the auditorium indicate.
Girish Kumar, producer Kumar Taurani’s son, hides behind a four-day stubble in a bid to look more mature than he really is. His gawky ways give him away.
Shruti Haasan is only marginally better but she, too, has miles to go before she can breathe easy as an actress.
Watch Ramaiya Vastavaiya only if you have the stomach for unbridled lunacy.