Friday, September 6, 2013

Shuddh Desi Romance Review

 Marriage has always been the next logical step for lovers in a longing relationship. That's what the primary aim has always been to fall in love as it gives legal and societal authority for a couple to stay together. And what does it demand to be married? Commitment. And this question for "commitment to marriage" for youngsters, generally, arises when their love life conflicts with the other sphere of their lives like their career, family, caste, religion or whatever. The lead characters in this film have nothing of it as a major obstacle or a conflict. Yet they fail to commit. Their chanchal man is the reason.

"Shaadi toh sirf gehne dikhane ke liye hoti hain," puts Gayatri (Parineeti Chopra) in her monologue in that mockumentary style for which every character takes turn to come up on screen and address us whenever the story takes a turn around them. And in one such wedding scene, we do see a gaudily decorated motorcycle, as a part of dowry, on a rotating stage for public display. This is just one of those immaculate detailing done to set up the small town weddings of Jaipur. Even as we are taken into this setup for the first time, right in the beginning, we hear the captain of a brass band warning one of his bandmasters to not to insert "Yeh des hai veer jawanon ka" tune midway playing "Aaj mere yaar ki shaadi hai".

But in this shaadi business, veer jawaan Raghu (Sushant Singh Rajput) reciprocates the same ideology about marriage as Gayatri. "Shaadiyon mein poore Hindustan ka jhooth aur double standard bahar aa jaata hai," he says, just before his own wedding, in his part of the mockumentary monologue that starts the film. He never gets his turn again to return on screen to speak for his part on the relationship chaos going on, while Tara (Vaani Kapoor) shares her clunky bit in the second half. Though it's at writer's convenience to have only 3 characters in hand to play with, he (Jaideep Sahni) creates logical complications with them with an ease and yet keeps it thoroughly engaging and entertaining for over 2 hours. He has some rustic and subtly humorous dialogues to do that in this talkative film.

So, to go by the characters and what the film projects, marriage is now reduced to only a business institution. Especially for the ones like Goyalji (Rishi Kapoor), a caterer, in this film. He hires baraatis to have them as guest crowd in weddings. Raghu and Gayatri do that job. While the former is a tourist guide who sells clothes to Americans saying it's handmade by orphans at Afghan war asking them to stop the war and has escaped from his own wedding, the latter teaches English at an Oxford English Speaking Tutorial, smokes cigarettes, keeps a long list of boyfriends. They are someone whom the traditional society would do away with a bad character certificate, but they come across very convincing to us (their charming performances being one reason; it's first, second and third film of Kapoor, Rajput and Chopra respectively). So calling their romance a shuddh desi one, is enough a middle finger to the conventional idea of love, rom-com films and the society, of course. And this is not an angry film (unlike Rockstar where the lovers wanted to stay away from the societal jail just as Gayatri and Raghu). This is delectably sweet film, like its characters.

Though, it's quite ironically interesting to see that the ones who don't find themselves comfortable with the idea of marriage, meet at one such function and that's the source of their extra income to carry on their "live-in"- the only alternative to marriage, the film suggests.

Director Maneesh Sharma debuted with Band Baaja Baraat. This film, his third, interestingly, is an anti to it. His second, Ladies v/s Ricky Bahl, was his "bathroom break". Bathroom is one of the recurring motifs in this film- others being thanda and some shuddh desi foods between marriages and running away from them. Goyalji even says, "Tum log bhagte bahut ho, pehle ek doosre ke peeche, phir ek doosre se duur." Their relationship hasn't find a closure, not even as the film ends. The film actually doesn't end. It is still running. Gayatri, Raghu and Tara are still chasing lives and love, staying in the society where neighbours are bothered about your lifestyle and marriage life.

The ads for this film in newspapers are boasting about the statistics results of Indians' thought on pre-marital sex, love, lust and live-in relationship. And asks only a minority to see them in theaters. I'm sure, once you are out of the theater watching this film, you'd like to revisit those ads and think about those statistics or would mind doing your own research.

So next time you sing "Aaj mere yaar ki shaadi hain!", remember  "Yeh des hai veer jawanon ka, albelon ka mastaano ka!"

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