08 September, 2013

Shuddh Desi Romance : The Lilt of the Hinterland Hormonica

YRF : The Prelude

Yash Chopra in the decades of the 90’s and 2000’s majestically flew Bollywood to the ski slopes of the Alps ; introducing us the viewer to snow, the tulip’s, daffodils of Switzerland and then smoothly merging them with the mustard fields of Punjab. So much so that he was honoured with the Swiss Ambassadors award of promoting that country through his films. Then the software boom happened and Indians were stomping all around the world, going everywhere and seeing it all. Losing that novelty today the Yash Raj Films (YRF) banner has turned its attention to the Indian hinterland with a vengeance. The director Maneesh Sharma has been appointed their official tour guide to this mythical, mysterious place with its different language and evolving aspirations.

Present Day :  SDR, Purely a Film Review 

So here we find ourselves in Jaipur and straight away jump into the lives of three young souls that randomly collide with each other making the substance of the screenplay. There is also a fourth character, an elderly Rishi Kapoor ( competent as always ) representing the pragmatic voice of the experienced generation; an older India coming to terms with the newer one, doling out homilies in a quirky manner that only he can. Raghuram Sitaram or Raghu is a registered tour guide ( Sushant Singh Rajput, absolutely watchable) who also plays a part-time baraati in the wedding business of Rishi Kapoor.

On his way to getting married to Tara ( debutante, Vani Kapoor , very dishy and poised ) he meets a beautiful, saucy smoking Gayatri ( Parineeti Chopra, very comely and sparkling ) and falls in love ( tezzwala attraction ) and runs away from his own marriage. After this the movie is only a collection of scenarios, long introspections and abject confusion. The characterizations of Raghu, Gayatri and Tara are so exasperating, simplistic and silly that after a point the crammed up charm starts to grate. Now whether he gets the girl or not and if he does then which girl ? The viewer has reached a point where he would scream whatever the f**k happens, who gives a shit... 

Is it a bad film, the answer has to be, No. Is it watchable, yes again. Here is a serious attempt to capture the hypocrisy of the Indian society and its view of love, commitment, sexuality, womanhood and marriage through the voice and eyes of the youth. This voice today is crying out for expression and is in its own forcefully urgent manner claiming its space in the consciousness of Urban & Semi-Urban metropolises of India.

Maneesh Sharma has achieved the absolute impossible, he has made a film out of a brilliantly weaved screenplay that has no coherent story or characterization to back it up. 

It is a visual film. The camera loves its three young protagonists and the colourful locales of Rajasthan without a doubt. The camera sensuously caresses the young curves of Gayatri & Vani and captures the confused, immature charming Raghu and his commitment-phobia wonderfully well. But the character is wimpy and despite his good looks he doesn't elicit empathy. Hence the extremely verbose players manage to just skim a surface without diving any deeper. Music in Hindi cinema is an important ingredient for its success and the songs are hummable, energetic,  yet they look better in the promos than in the movie. Sachin & Jigar have done their job well but the integration was the director’s cut, he quite doesn't get it like he did in his first outing with Band Bajaa Baraat. We get a sense of flitting in and out of that first film BBB what with the marriage arrangers, the catering and the entire ensemble around it.

A good director and a solid production house can trip up despite having good ingredients in actors and technicians. Maneesh the only thing to do now is jump up quickly, shake off the dust and start a new project. This time do focus on a story idea first and believe me everything else will fall correctly into place. My promise to you, I shall come and watch your next effort too with some hope and expectations that you have learned something from the faux’pas from this time around. 

So finally what are we left with? Only raging hormones? Well, yes.
“Armaan khuley hai, Ziddi bulbuley hai”
a phrase in a song purely ( Shuddh )  encapsulates the essence of this Desi Romance. 


Soul Images said...

Not so "finally chali hai" film, from point of view of a story. The narrative of the film is stuck in the sexual attraction and commitment phobia. Thereby losing the opportunity of making a statement on the double standards and sham of the society!
Loved reading your review as usual. :)

kau kau goes the crow said...

Totally in agreement on the missed opportunity of making the statement...clearly, and thus making it count.
Thank You :-)