I was reluctant to see the film and watched it only because it was Rani Mukherjee's debut performance. I knew she was not a great actress at that point of time, but I still planned to watch the film just to check it out and leave it midway if necessary (which I expected). From the technical aspect, this film is indeed a complete disaster, the cinematography is terrible, the sound is worse, and the film is so dated that if someone would think this one is a film from the 1970s, I would not be surprised. However, in terms of storytelling, Raja Ki Ayegi Baraat works well, and I was surprised and even charmed by a film, which despite being quite melodramatic, is quite enjoyable, by well-written dialogues and by a story which unfolds quite interestingly.
This is the story of a smart, intelligent and headstrong girl named Mala who was adopted by a poor man and now works as a teacher. The film shows how she incidentally confronts a young, arrogant and rich guy, and when he insults her brutally, she slaps him and calls him an impotent in public. And to prove the opposite, he rapes her in front of all her students the following day. This was quite shocking. She takes him to court and, after many complications, he is forced to marry her. And then the real story and romance begin. The entire story only got increasingly engaging and the court scenes, inspite of having little to do with reality, were just superb.
Rani gets a fantastic role to play, a strong, decisive and very intelligent young woman who is ready to fight the entire world to prove her innocence and her righteousness. She gets magnificent lines to say, especially in court. Her Mala's management in a house where nobody wants her, is fantastic. She fights everyone who wants to hurt her, she fights any kind of injustice. This reminds me a bit of Madhuri Dixit's role in Beta, and although Mukherjee is nowhere close to being as great as Dixit was in this film, she gives quite an impressive debut performance. She may not be outstanding or something, but she is compelling and reasonably good-looking, and even though her diction at that point of time was... well, bad - her dialogue delivery is pretty effective. I am surprised, because many films in later years she was horrible in, and it's unexpected to find her doing so well actually in her very first film.
The film belongs to Rani and she is its main attraction, but other cast members are decent, except for Shadaab Khan who is much below average. His expressions are incredibly caricaturish, and although he has some charm and dances well, this performance can be rightly called bad. I was surprised to see the bad guy himself, Gulshan Grover, playing such a big-hearted and wonderful human being. He overacts in parts, but this turn is interesting. Saeed Jaffrey is an actor I just like immensely, and I like his facial expressions. He is a naturally funny person. One actor who must be noted is Sulabha Deshpande, who plays the old maid - she is just exceptional in the scene she reproaches her boss for his corruptness. Anyway, do watch this film if you are a fan of Rani but also if you like lovely Hindi romantic films with some social and family values. Don't expect much - this film is not particularly good, but it is very entertaining right until the nice ending, at least from my point of view.