Saturday, September 07, 2013

Shudh Desi Filmmaking - 3.5 stars

Last night I went to watch ‘Shudh Desi Romance’ for only one reason: writer Jaideep Sahni.

And I wasn’t disappointed. This is not your average Bollywood film.

‘Shudh Desi Romance’ (SDR) is fresh and different and not just at a superficial level. It’s a portrayal of a new India where young people change boyfriends and girlfriends the way they change their mobile phones.

Look around and you can see this India all around you. Yet, our movies and serials continue to portray the India we want to perpetuate. The India of chachis, fufis, shaadis and baaraatis. As if you can be carefree and crazy for just the pre-marital phase of life and then happily ‘settle down’.

Yeh poore India ko bas ‘settlement’ ki padi hai”, grumble Sushant Singh Rajput in the opening sequence of the film. You betcha.

Marriage is an industry, it’s a business opportunity, it’s the only legitimate entertainment India has. Khao, peeo, naacho, paise udaao – something to plan for, something to live for. And yeah, one hapless boy and girl get Fevicol-ed in public. Courts will ensure haishaa kar ke bhi todna mushkil hai.

Leave aside the few who marry out of deep desire to spend their lives with another human being and raise a family. The majority are entering marriage without thought, without clarity. Ladki achchi dikhti hai, chalo kar lo. Ladke ki family achchi hai, okay! Baad mein kya hoga? Adjust ho jayenge.

After all, har ek adjust ho jaata hai. How difficult can it be?

Believe me, it’s getting more and more difficult. I know of two cases in my extended family where the marriage has crumbled after less than two years. An arranged marriage, with all taam-jhaam, no expense spared. The reason, I believe, is simple. Girls are getting educated, they are working, they aren’t willing to take shit from their in-laws and husbands. And of course, threshold of tolerance on both sides is extremely low.

Coming back to SDR. Imagine a film where the characters keep attending weddings but no one actually gets married. There is a love triangle but no hero fighting to win the girl’s hand (instead there are two girls and one hero, and they don’t fight either). Women actually make choices.

Gayatri (Parineeti Chopra) lives alone, far from her family. She is a working girl who experiments with love and life.

Tara (Vaani Kapoor) is an orphan but not a bechari. She is also cool as a cucumber in any situation (which is unreal at times but okay – maybe effect of Art of Living or something!)

Raghuram (Sushant Singh Rajput) is a good-for-nothing. Yet he has not one but two hot girls chasing him. I think this is the point that most people in the audience could not digest.

But hello, there are guys like this – girls fall for them all the time, especially in school. Later in life, I suppose such boys are rejected as they are not ‘marriage material’. But once girls are independent, earning, capable of supporting themselves – do they need to marry only for practical reasons?

You can get attracted to a good for nothing, have a fling and move on. Or, even marry him – if you really want to. Because after all, it’s your life.

You will not 'settle' and lead the life Ekta Kapoor has planned for you.

Things that worked in this film: the acting of both girls & Rishi Kapoor, the dialogues (listen carefully), the setting (Jaipur city works very well for the story!). Lot of attention to detail. Toilet joke without toilet humour.

What could have been better: The songs (just okay). A bit too idealistic (all 3 characters have no pressure from parents or relatives – makes it much too simple). Chemistry between the characters (could have been better).

The first half is fast-paced and interesting, the second half drags. But I absolutely agree with the ending. Overall, I give the film 3.5 stars.

I think this movie is too radical for some to accept. But I hope enough people see it so that more such films get made. Or, we will get ‘Kochi Express’, ‘London Express’ – old stories in shiny new wrappers. Is that what we want or is that what we deserve?

I know we aren’t easy to please but Shudh Desi Filmmakers, please lagey raho.

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