After the tightly-knitted Queen , director Vikas Bahl has come up with an effusive piece, which is crazy and whimsical on the surface but a little beneath the tropes of rom com there is a potent assault on the hogwash that many of us conjure up in the name of carrying on the tradition.
In today’s world a destination wedding is the closest to a fairy tale. Bahl dresses up his imagination to take us to a dreamland where a Punjabi and a Sindhi family strike a deal in the name of marriage. The self-seeking matriarch (Sushma Seth) of Aroras ‘fixes’ the marriage of her overweight grand daughter Isha (Sanah Kapur) to the dude of the gold-loving Fundwanis, who is fixated to his abs. Both families are on the verge of bankruptcy and hide this fact from each other. So Fundwanis pretend to be okay with the plus-size of the bride and the Aroras are cool with the moronic groom. Time to play out Dum Laga Ke Haisha in a fancy setting? No, there is more.
In comes the charismatic wedding planner Jagjinder Joginder (JJ) (Shahid Kapur), who gets swept away by the innocent charms of Isha’s sister Alia (Alia Bhatt). Alia’s father Bipin Arora (Pankaj Kapur) doesn’t agree with the whims of his mother but doesn’t have the guts to stand up. As JJ and Alia come close they discover that they have been on the same side of the fence. Both have lived a tumultuous childhood. Both aspire to dream and Bahl makes good use of technique and music to generate the bubble they are in. Unlike other rom coms, there is hardly any physicality in this romance but still it appeals for a while with its Cinderella like texture (Anil Mehta’s immersive frames add to the appeal). An insomniac, Alia is just looking for somebody, she can sleep with. No double meaning intended! Shahid and Alia make the writing sound more genuine than it actually is. Alia doesn’t need words to express herself, to make a connection with the audience and here again she is effortless. Shahid plays his cute side to the hilt and makes the pure look palatable when the phoney side threatens to take over. His real-life sister Sanah proves to be a ‘healthy’ foil as the well-rounded Isha.
After the elaborate song and dance, helicopter and horse rides, Bahl takes the cloak off the charade to tell us that it is cool to be imperfect. That we are becoming a sick society in the name of justifying tradition. The climax seems like an appeal to burn the effigy of hypocrisy this Dusshera. It is a welcome break from the sanitised endings that Bollywood offers, but Bahl takes too long for the surprise and sangeet to hold. Also, it feels odd that the central character’s concerns are more easily sorted out than the supporting actor’s. And considering he is not the first one to take a dig at double standards in the wedlock business, the stretching of the narrative annoys.
Also, there is no attempt to humanise the jerks. Sanjay Kapoor as the head of the Sindhi family comes across as a pale shadow of Anil Kapoor. The quirks seem put on and the bonding between Shahid and Pankaj Kapur is overplayed so much so that it becomes irksome.
Like Fundwanis, they seem to have got carried away by the bling that the mass appeal promises reducing the film to a show-off like the characters it makes fun of. Or has it something to do with the meeting of two schools – Anurag Kashyap and Karan Johar? Unlike Queen , it doesn’t feel like a take-off from a lived reality. There are some honest moments between JJ and Alia and Alia and her father that make you go gooey but for rest of the time it floats between generic and farcical.