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You'll get to see colorful Rajasthan, but don't expect more...
This Rajasthan-set film, "Hari Om", has the immensely likable Vijay Raaz (the wedding planner from "Monsoon Wedding") as its hero, but the vehicle (no pun intended, even though he portrays a rickshaw driver in the film) is a poor one that doesn't showcase his considerable comedic talent and goofy charm. An arrogant young Frenchman (big cliché: aren't all Frenchmen reputed to be arrogant?!) and his dim-witted pretty girlfriend are traveling through Rajasthan on the Palace-on-Wheels train when they quarrel, and the girl takes off on her own. She engages the rickshaw driver, who himself is on the run from local goons, and they set off on a journey through the picturesque countryside. All three characters are irritatingly idiotic and poorly written, but the Rajasthani landscape is stunning. I completely tuned out the uninteresting leads and focused instead on the pleasures of the Rajasthani terrain and architecture. Having only recently been there and seen a little bit of it, I was mesmerized by the myriad colors, the harsh beauty, and the vibrant, fascinating minor players, most of whom are untrained actors...just everyday Rajasthani folk. It was good to see the character actor A. K. Hangal, who looks like he must be at least 300 years old, in a couple of scenes. Bless him for continuing to act. That said, I must tell you that this film ended up a crowd-pleaser at the Vancouver International Film Festival: additional screenings were scheduled by popular demand. So what do I know?
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