Raanjhanaa (transl. Beloved one) is a 2013 Indian Hindi-language romantic drama film directed by Aanand L. Rai and written by Himanshu Sharma. The film is produced by Krishika Lulla under the banner Eros International. It stars Dhanush, Sonam Kapoor, Swara Bhaskar, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub and Abhay Deol. It marks the Hindi film debut for Dhanush. The film was released on 21 June 2013 worldwide, while the dubbed Tamil version titled Ambikapathy was released a week later.
The background score and songs were composed by A. R. Rahman and the lyrics of the tracks were penned by Irshad Kamil. The film was successful at the Indian box office.
Kundan Shankar (Dhanush) is the only son of Tamil Hindu Brahmin parents settled in Varanasi. Since his childhood, Kundan has had a strong and obsessive one-sided love for Zoya (Sonam Kapoor), a Muslim girl residing in the other neighborhood, whom he had seen praying namaaz in his teacher’s house while he went to collect chanda or donation for Hindu festival, Dussehra. He always attempts to flirt or be around Zoya but gets slapped several times in the process. These acts of courtship from him were being done even without knowing Zoya’s name. Zoya finally reveals her name after repeated asking and starts to like him a bit because of Kundan’s consistency of affection and tells him to meet at a place. When they meet, she comes to know that Kundan is a Hindu brahmin and starts to avoid again because her family is orthodox, and she is sure that they won’t agree for any intimate relationship like marriage. Her family comes to know that Zoya is liking some Hindu guy, and they decide to send Zoya to Aligarh for further studies. After Zoya moves to College for further studies forcefully, Kundan tries to impress Zoya’s family members by assisting them with small-small home chores. Zoya gets into Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi and regains her confidence and then falls for student leader, Akram Zaidi (Abhay Deol).
After eight years, Zoya returns to Varanasi, barely recognizing Kundan when she meets him again. Kundan again attempts to ask Zoya for her love but she is reluctant, revealing that she is in love with Akram. She urges Kundan to convince her family about her marriage with Akram. Kundan eventually agrees and gets their wedding arranged, promising Zoya that he will also marry someone else and forget her. He proposes to his childhood friend Bindiya (Swara Bhaskar), who has had a crush on him since childhood.
On the day of Zoya’s marriage, Kundan finds out that Akram is a Sikh, whose actual name is Jasjeet Singh Shergill. This enrages him, as Zoya had used their religious differences to convince him that their match was not possible. He crashes the wedding ceremony and reveals the truth to Zoya’s parents. Kundan is later informed that Zoya tried to commit suicide, and Jasjeet was mercilessly beaten by Zoya’s relatives. At the hospital, Jasjeet tells Kundan that Zoya convinced him to portray himself as Muslim to marry her, a plan he should not have agreed to. While with Jasjeet, Kundan forgets about his own marriage ceremony with Bindiya, taking place that day, and is too late when he returns. Hurt and angry, Kundan’s family disowns him. Jasjeet’s parents take him back to his village. Kundan tries to redeem himself by taking Zoya to Jasjeet’s village. There, he is devastated to find that Jasjeet has succumbed to his injuries, finally understanding that his one-sided love has resulted in an innocent man’s death.
Kundan becomes a homeless vagrant and begins visiting various religious places and volunteering in their activities so that he can atone for his sins. During one such visit, a man advises him to do the right thing rather than run away from his sins. Motivated, Kundan locates Zoya to her university, where she is spearheading the political party “All India Citizen Party” (AICP), that had been created by Jasjeet. Kundan joins the nearby canteen and serves the party, while trying to get Zoya’s attention. Over time, he becomes popular with the party due to his simple nature. They’re also impressed when Kundan helps them in negotiating some tough situations by using his simplistic witty tricks. However, Zoya holds a grudge that the person who is responsible for Jasjeet’s death is now taking his place. She tries to instigate party members against Kundan but Jasjeet’s sister Rashmi (Shilpi Marwaha) tells Kundan to continue, as he is the best choice for fulfilling Jasjeet’s vision.
Kundan, however, only wants Zoya to forgive him. The Chief Minister tells Zoya that she must get revenge on Kundan. To get back Jasjeet’s position, she tells Zoya to let Kundan get injured as he delivers his campaign speech. Zoya is apparently brainwashed by this plan and as the Chief Minister desired, Kundan is hurt badly and sent to ICU, thus fulfilling Zoya’s revenge.
At a press meet, the Chief Minister denies having any hand in the blast that hurt Kundan. However, Zoya steps forward and reveals that the plan was plotted by her and the Chief Minister and that she is prepared to go to prison for this. Zoya then finds out that Kundan was aware of the plot and still lets himself be injured. Shocked, she rushes to the hospital to be with him.
In a final voiceover, a dying Kundan wonders about letting go. He says he might have the desire to live again if Zoya called out to him, but then again, everything has become so tiring, he would rather let go and rest (euphemism for dying). He says that he can be born again and again in the same Varanasi, fall in love with a girl like Zoya again, and become a Raanjhanaa (Beloved one) in her love. Then he slowly dies.
Dhanush as Kundan Shankar
Sonam Kapoor as Zoya Haider
Abhay Deol as Akram Zaidi / Jasjeet Singh Shergill
Swara Bhaskar as Bindiya Tripathi
Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub as Murari Gupta
Ishwak Singh as Shahid, groom for Zoya
Shilpi Marwaha as Rashmi Shergill, Jasjeet’s sister
Suraj Singh as Anand
Kumud Mishra as Inzamaam Qalab-E-Haider a.k.a. Guruji, Zoya’s father
Deepkia Amin as Zoya’s mother
Urmillla Sharma as Kundan’s mother
Vipin Sharma as Shivraman Shankar, Kundan’s father
Rahul Chauhan as Inspector Ashok Tripathi, Bindiya’s father
Reena Kumar as Bindiya’s mother
Tejpal Singh as Ishar Singh Shergill, Jasjeet and Rashmi’s father
Dimple as Jasjeet and Rashmi’s mother
Naman Jain as young Kundan Shankar
Saniya Anklesaria as young Zoya Haider
Payal Bhojwani as young Bindiya Tripathi
Ansh as young Murari Gupta
Sujata Kumar as Chief Minister
Arvind Gaur as Guptaji
Shailendra Singh as Guptaji’s secretary
Shivi as Shivi
Amarnath Sharma as Junait
Rahul Tanwar as Acchan
Uptal Jha as police inspector
Nisha Jindal as a student of JNU
Manveer Choudhary as a student of JNU
Ginny Singh as a JNU activist