Riding on the goodwill generated by Mimi (2021), director Laxman Utekar once again showcases his knack for impregnating a social issue with dollops of comedy and drama. Here he explores the desire of young middle-class couples to break away from joint families to have their own home, and how far they could go to have an exclusive roof over their heads in a light-hearted fashion.
Yoga teacher Kapil Dubey (Vicky Kaushal) and chemistry professor Saumya Chawla’s (Sara Ali Khan) love marriage hits a roadblock when their nosy uncle and aunt shift to Kapil’s family home. As they could smell egg in an anniversary cake and Punjabi flair in Soumya’s demeanour, the young couple starts looking for a space outside the mohalla. With a flat proving out of budget, they decide to apply for a government scheme but to fulfil its conditions, a corrupt official — ingeniously called Bhagwan Das (Inaamulhaq) — advises them to divorce each other. It spirals into a comedy of errors that might not be entirely logical and original, but captures the churn in urban families and society.
Sara and Vicky’s equation has the flavour of middle-class family dramas that once featured Amol Palekar and Zarina Wahab, and Farooque Sheikh and Deepti Naval. While Vicky is charming as the boy who believes in cutting corners to fuel the future, Sara is believable as the girl who wants more from her life. As the two inform each other’s behaviour, we see an interesting evolution of their bond over two hours. Perked by plausible writing, Vicky doesn’t mind exposing Kapil minus the charm and Sara shows there is more to Soumya than just chiffon and georgette saris.
Zara Hatke Zara Bachke
Such films demand a couple of hummable songs but while the score composed by Sachin Jigar is not bad, it is the timeless R.D. Burman number “Dekho Maine Dekha Hai Yeh Ek Sapna” that becomes the leitmotif of the love story.
Much like the title, this cut-paste approach that is made to sound like an inspiration reflects in the storyline as well, and reminds one of Irrfan-starrer Hindi Medium where the urge of fitting into a government scheme turns awry. In fact, Sharib Hashmi’s character of a guard and its role in driving the screenplay is distinctly similar to that of Deepak Dobriyal in the Saket Chaudhary film where, interestingly, Utekar was the cinematographer.
The support cast is impressive. It is good to see Akash Khurana playing a middle-class father after being typecast as a political bigwig and business honcho, but the one who steals the show is Kanupriya Pandit as the conniving yet cute Deepa Mami, ever ready to bring in caste and social status in a family conversation. Not to forget good old Rakesh Bedi as the father-in-law who imparts crucial life lessons after a few pegs.
Yes, there are passages where the lead players overdo their organic and inorganic chemistry. Sara is improving with each outing but she needs to channelise her nervous energy in a way that doesn’t feel theatrical, particularly when you have a natural performer like Vicky or Dhanush (Atrangi Re) in the same frame. After a point situations and props start becoming repetitive, but like Kapil would tell his yoga students, the film rediscovers its “Chi” before it’s too late.
Zara Hatke Zara Bachke is currently running in theatres