There's a lot in Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi that you usually don't find in Bollywood these days.
When was the last time you watched a film that's full of real people, totally comfortable with their extra kilos? Shirin Farhad seems to pack a heavyweight ensemble of actors, like it wants to make a point about how thin is abnormal.
Unlike Hollywood comedies that use obese actors as an excuse to make fat people jokes (remember Hangover or Shallow Hal?), this is a film where the jokes have nothing to do with their physical appearance.
When was the last time you watched a Bollywood film that chose to tell the story of a mature romance without making a big deal about the age of the couple?
Or when was the last time you watched a film that focusses on a colourful minority community for no specific reason? Though it does add flavour, the ethnicity has nothing to do with the conflict.
Bela Bhansali Sahgal’s debut film is a celebration of all things Bollywood usually considers uncool. Why is it that we have only seen the likes of Kajols and Madhuri Dixits in their perfect bodies dance and romance on screen? Farah Khan is equally graceful in the song that spoofs Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Hum Aapke Hai Kaun and Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge. What's so funny about a man who makes an honest living selling lingerie? Doesn't he deserve to find love?
Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi takes all this and more to toss up a harmless, feel-good love story about a couple that falls in love as real people do... Without any drama. Or great lines.
In fact, it's the simplicity and everydayness of the exchanges between the lead pair that makes this love story all the more adorable. The fact that Boman Irani and Farah Khan lend their likeable personas to Farhad and Shirin makes this film all the more endearing. Farah Khan is a natural. She plays it straight without resorting to histrionics, while Boman really sinks his teeth into the emotional portions to once again show us what a fantastic performer he can be, more so on Parsi home turf, ably supported by a terrific Daisy Irani and veteran actress Shammiji.
The flip side is that with no serious conflict, the film meanders along with song and dance and some over-the-top moments of loud slapstick. It's a bit of a stretch to watch, especially when the film heads towards its predictable end with unwarranted stalling as the scene of action shifts to the police station on New Year's night with the entire Parsi community conveniently without the heroine, who is the Secretary of the Parsi Trust! There's also quite a bit of shameless in-your-face product placement that makes you roll your eyes.
But if you are willing to discount all that extra footage, you might actually end up rooting for Shirin, Farhad and their cutesy love story.