Rab ne Bana di Jodi successfully established itself as a romantic comedy, won the hearts of its audience by drawing a resemblance with its protagonist Suri. He is a representative of an average looking middle class working professional who spends a major chunk of his life in front of his computer screen working in a small cubical. The film enjoyed acclaim of the critics and earned a whooping amount of US$ 1.5 billion. What are the elements that contributed to the success of the film? Is it the story, direction, acting, melodious music and song? All the elements are properly weaved to make the film a success but there is something else that eludes the vision. It is the inner conflict between reality and fantasy, the perpetual clash of what he is not but wants to be, his fight against fear of being left alone, and the desire to be loved and accepted.
There are two different plots that run simultaneously in the movie. One is the married life of Tani and the other is the love affair of Tani and Raj. The film begins with the marriage of Suri of Tani, under unavoidable circumstances but feelings associated with this alliance starkly varies. Owing to the prevalent situation Tani agrees to take the nuptial vows but feels no love for the bridegroom, whereas Suri fell in love with her at the first sight. Hidden behind that simple form, of an undemanding, down to earth, meek individual is a complex mind that harbors intense desire to be loved and eulogized like a hero by his lady love. There is a desire to break free from the shackles of monotony and live a life full of fun and frolic.
The second plot plays with the fancy of a young romantic girl as she shuttles between Suri and Raj. The character of Tani is akin to an extrovert, playful yet homely girl who dreams to be loved. Tani falls in love with an extrovert person like her who is vocal about his desires and dreams, possesses a flexible approach towards life and takes interest in her likes and dislikes. Suri, on the contrary, is so confined in himself that he fails to open up in front of his wife. A formal professional environment inhabited by two colleagues prevails at home which to the discontent of Tani is the nature of her husband. Audiences’ focus is drawn to the two opposite characters – extrovert, adaptive, vibrant and introvert, shy, docile. Let’s not feel offended by the girl as she wishes to elope with the lover, it is again the complexity of human mind that feels attracted towards certain attributes of an individual.
The transformation that Suri undergoes in order to woo his lady love is easily accepted by the audience. Through the constant role reversal, or moving in and out of the garb of a superhero, Suri won the applause of the spectators. Delving deep into the intricacy for an explanation uncovers the answer. It is an endeavor on part of an insignificant man to catch the attention of his wife and hence her love who admires an extrovert flamboyant hero in a film. Why is the role-reversal necessary? Is it a necessity of life? Is a shy and introvert person not worthy of being loved? Why does it take courage to present our true self to our loved ones?
Suri shows signs of Dissociative Identity Disorder. According to Psychology Today signs of DID shows, “The alters’ characteristics—including name, reported age and gender, vocabulary, general knowledge, and predominant mood—contrast with those of the primary identity.” Suri assumes the role of Raj, his alter ego, who differs from him in terms of name, vocabulary and language, and predominant mood. As Raj, he turns out to be a different person altogether and, to his content, is liked by Tani. She enjoys his company and they soon become friends. He enjoys her company to his heart’s content but once out of the garb voices his desire to be accepted by his wife as he is. It is also evident that he does not wish to succumb to his wife’s fancies but at the same time is hesitant in expressing his love. This further propels the complexity of human mind and reflects the adamancy of the man in Suri. The scene is symbolic of patriarchy and appeals to the psyche of movie goers consisting mostly of men. After creating so much of hue and cry, the girl towards the end is able to see the integrity and righteous of her husband in his original form and the fanciful image stands rejected by her. This denial of the imaginary character Raj, both by Suri and Tani, shows it to be a means to satisfy the husband’s inner conflict with himself. Tani succumbs to the Indian mindset of living and dying with her husband.
Characterization of Tani is a true portrait of Indian women who are conditioned to act according to the norms prevalent in the society. Despite the fire that burns in her hurt she chooses to turn herself dormant. Her sense of gratitude stands tall in front of her own wishes and compels her to be a dutiful wife. Is it so difficult to assert our individuality, to be able to voice our concerns and likes and dislikes? The film tries to present a rebellious lady who tries to assert her independence but soon realization dawns on her to choose the path of sacrifice and fidelity of being with her husband – an act in sync with Indian thought process.
The monologue also raises a question mark on the feeling of Love. According to Osho, “Love makes no conditions, no ifs, no buts. Love never says, “Fulfill these requirements, then I will love you.” Here the hero is determined to hold his ground irrespective of his wife’s wishes and ironically claims to be head over heels in love with her. This approach stands true in the light of Osho’s view, “Relationship may be just out of fear, and may not have anything to do with love. Relationship may be just a kind of security – financial or something else. The relationship is needed only because love is not there. Relationship is a substitute.” Their predicament can further be described in the words of Osho, as “And whoever wants love suffers because love cannot be asked for, love can only be given. In wanting there is no certainty that you will get it. And if the person from whom you expect love also expects love from you, it is a problem. It will be like two beggars meeting and begging together. All over the world there are marital problems between husbands and wives, and the only reason for this is that both expect love from each other but are unable to give love.”
Looking at the flow of events in the film, it is not hard to believe the self-centric expectation of a husband who wants his wife to accept him with all his flaws as her hero and puts him on a pedestal when he decides to give away his ancestral property to her. At this stage when Suri is about to lose his wife for his alter ego (Raj) he does not sum up the courage to express his love and confront her with reality. On the contrary he turns sacrificial by granting her a gift in form of property. The sacrifice is a subtle comparison of wife with property which holds true in the context of Indian culture since time immemorial.
In the light of the events that unfolds it appears ironical to say Rab ne Bana di Jodi. The title is also hypothetical and very true to the belief of Indians that matches are made in heaven. If so, then why do divorces take place? Why do people have extra-marital affairs? Why are most of the couples unhappy with their married life and end up living a neglected claustrophobic life? Did God strategies to give us reasons to lead unhappy life and pick a companion who would mistreat, disrespect and hurt one another on one’s whims and fancy? Arranged marriages in India originated during the Vedic period of Indian history. Rigvedic verses suggest that women married at a mature age and were probably free to select their own husbands. The ceremony and the institution of arranged marriages also took its shape during this time. The status of women began to decline, and with the Islamic invasion of Babur and the Mughal Empire. Marriage became an institution to regulate the sexual behaviour of the individual. It is through marriage that relation between man and woman is socially recognized. Hindu marriage was a social duty towards the family and the community and there was little idea of individual interests. Marriage among the Hindus is obligatory because the Vedas ordain that a Hindu should perform his Dharma along with his wife. Hence, marriage is an important institution for the Hindus. Thus, it can be concluded that God has no role to play in forming pairs but it is our own brain child.