If you’ve ever wondered if it’s possible for anyone to offer anything fresh in the world of boy/girl body swaps, 30 Rojullo Preminchadam Ela, answers that question with a definitive yes. The film stands out both for the grand scope of the story (over 2 hours) as well as the commitment to storytelling. Oh, and there are also some new things in terms of the body swap evolution as well.
The film has three distinct act, each wth a different tone, which all build on each other. In the first section, we meet the young couple in the year 1947. They live in a small, country village and we see their carefree courtship amid gorgeous, golden scenery. Their loves ends in tragedy and anger.
The second act takes place in modern times. The doomed lovers have been reincarnated, and– no, they are not swapped yet. He is he and she is she. But, the bitterness and anger of their previous lives carries over, as when they meet on a college campus, there is instant recognition and revulsion. For a time, we see their characters and relationships develop. She is a serious student, a somewhat feminist and yet also dedicated to tradition. He is somewhat sexist, a jock who uses women. There is an amusing battle of the sexes dance number, made more amusing to me by the fact I know they will soon be in each other’s bodies.
So far, it seems like pretty much any body swap movie, plus dancing. And, in fact, that continues for awhile starting with a “If I were you” argument that ends up with them in each other’s bodies. There are two rules for them to get back to their own bodies. First, they can tell no one their real names. They must pretend to be each other. Second, they must return to the shrine in 30 Days.
Which is exactly when it starts to seem like this will be just another body swap movie. In fact, for a time it seems like a remake of It’s a Boy Girl Thing. How much does it resemble BG Thing? They live right next door to each other and are able to spy on each other’s hijinx. Some fun scenes include Arjoon (the guy) coming out of the shower in only a towel, and Akshara, seeing him, being horrified to realize he has “seen everything.” Arjun also immediately seems to revel in the opportunity to play the female, dressing sexy right away, flirting and seeming to revel in the attention. Akshara becomes enraged, and they begin to try and sabotage each other’s reputations (sound familiar) including some fun scenes where Jaroon, as Ashara, tries to seduce and sweet talk his old girlfriend, and later seems like he is going to sleep with his friend (a lowly nerd).
This was all fun, especially seeing Arjun wearing cute clothes and being all slutty. Yet, it is the third act where things get really interesting and which separate this film from so many others. When the 30th day comes, the characters go the shrine, but the seer who said he could switch them back has died. They are told now, that the only way to change back is to fall in love.
So, now they are stuck as each other, and their attempts to fake falling in love, including a very awkward kiss, fail. Which is when things go deep. Akshkara’s sister goes into labor. Since her husband is out of town, Arjun ends up being forced to be with her as she gives birth, holding her hand, telling her to breath. He does not want to do it, and we see that, in fact, Akshkara, in his body, is told to leave the room as it is considered improper for a man to be in the room.
The baby is handed to Arjun to hold, and as he holds the newborn baby, the doctor who delivered it tells him, “there were two births today.” She goes on to explain that when a woman has her first baby, she is reborn as a mother.
The experience jolts Arjun, who has previously stated he hates girls. He thinks of how cruel and unloving he has been to his own mother. Tears running down his cheeks, he runs through the rain to throw his arms around his mother and tell her how much he loves her.
Arjun is transformed. Now identifying with his mother, he has another tearful encounter with Akshara. She asks him why he is crying like a girl. “I am Akshara now,” he says, and they shake hands. Jarun now dedicates himself to becoming Akshara. He dresses like her, acts like her. We see the two of them hanging out doing date things much like they did in their past lives, and Arjun is sweet and feminine. His transformation seems complete to the point that at one point he yells “I need my sister!” Referring to Ashkara’s sister, the one who had the baby.
And we do get to see Arjun in formal dress, fully made up, looking radiant and proud when Ashkara, still in his body gazes at him in wonder.
The story climaxes when Akshara, trying to be Arjun, attempts to fight as a kick boxer. We see Arjun, the frought and worried female, running about in his dress, trying to end the fight the fight before Ashkara gets hurt. She, determined to play his role, refuses to stop though she is being badly beaten.
And what happens next is—- you’ll have to watch the movie!
One final note. I thought the main two actors did very well, especially as they performed in three different styles. Both played the light comedy nicely, but also tremendous emotion for the dramatic scenes. I also liked the script very much, as so much of what happens early builds to dramatic impact when we see what happens later.