Three days into the release of Shuddh Desi Romance (SDR), most of the Bollywood viewers (irrespective of whether they have seen the movie or not) know that the film circles around the theme of cohabitation, or live-in relationships as more commonly known. Most of these people have also formed opinions about the movie and its concept, which leaves little room for me to address the movie in. After all, what can I say? Everything has already been said!
Frankly, to me, SDR is not about love or relationships at all. Strangely enough, it makes me want to take a good look at the Indian subcontinent’s cultural fixations (and let’s not even get into the debate that Pakistan does not have the same ideals, it does).
- From the day a female child is born we are obsessed of making sure she is raised ‘right’ to be good marriage material;
- From the day a male child is born we are obsessed of ensuring that he has a ‘good’ (meaning full package job, wife, kids) life;
- Most of kids by the time they reach college are obsessed with looking to find a suitor to ‘settle down’ with;
- If, God forbid, we don’t find this right person by the time we complete our education, someone to hitch up with has to be there at our workplace;
- Last option for the ‘good kids’ (who don’t want to rock the boat at home with lurve marriage) is of course arranged marriage;
- Once marriage is out-of-the-way – its obsession to multiply, procreate, have kids…! Have one child, the second one and by then your own life is in the same rut of ‘molding’ future of these children as your parents once molded yours…
Why are we so inclined towards these dogmas? Why does society force everyone to follow a fixed path? Why is it not alright to just follow the alternative – like to never get married? Why is a single girl labelled a ‘bechari’? Why is it wrong for anyone to just not want to ‘settle down’ with someone? Why is it that if there is a married couple without a child, it’s only because they have medical ‘issues’? So on and so forth.
I believe SDR somehow touches these dogmas, all the while engaging its audiences in a captivating comedy.
SDR focuses on three individuals, Raghuram Sitaram (Sushant Singh Rajput), Gayatri (Parineeti Chopra) and Tara (Vaani Kapoor), who choose not to follow the standard path for addressing their lives and relationships. Yes, they are confused, they are scared to commit and they make mistakes that hurt people and each other – but isn’t that what happens in real life too?
SDR is definitely not a movie for those who watch Bollywood romantic comedies to escape the reality of their actual relationships and want to see typical fairy tale romance, like Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge and the rest of the flicks from the Yash Chopra-Karan Johar clan.
The movie questions (lo and behold!) the sanctity of marriage.
Remove the layers of the movie and SDR is actually a charming story of the three youngsters. The movie is fun throughout & the viewers have nothing to complain at all as far as the entertainment quotient is concerned. The ongoing gag about bathroom is hilarious. Director/writer are witty in repeating some of the dialogs in the movie. Even the smaller details like the mithaiwalla scratching his back with the channi or the fake baraati’s asking for the gold chain are funny.
The romance in the movie is very real and fresh – but did feel that the makers really rushed the Shushant-Parineeti relationship – one minute she is kissing him in the bus and the next he has moved in with her!
Another plus of the movie is that for once the women are not crying, sappy air heads – but independent women who don’t mind saying what they feel and asking for what they want. Instead, it is their male counter part who is confused, impulsive and a kid!!
SDR – Performances:
The three lead characters of the movie are extremely natural. Sushant gets into the skin of a confused but honest Raghu pretty easily, however one does get the vibes of watching a Ranbir Kapoor or Ranveer Singh from his acting. Parineeti Chopra is fabulous with another one of her spontaneous performances, playing the bold and beautiful Gayatri. Vaani Kapoor looks pretty, amazingly confident for her debut movie and has a good on-screen presence as Tara.
Rishi Kapoor gets special applause for doing a brilliant job as the extremely lovable Goel.
SDR – Technical:
I totally want to visit Jaipur after watching the movie. The Pink City and its cultural nuances have been etched well in the movie’s plot.
Costume design is also impeccable and gives the movie a complete Rajasthani look. The same goes for the music as well, which perfectly befits the theme of the movie and is enjoyable.
However, the editing department probably slept over a couple of reels as the movie is at least 10-15 minutes too long!
Honourable mention for Jaideep Sahni, for coming up and writing a script such as this, with its realistic simplicity which is quite rare.
The final word:
Lastly, I saw a lot of disappointment in the crowd when the couple did not get married in the final act. FYI – that’s exactly the point this movie was trying to make!
Go with an open mind about ‘desi’ romance and enjoy the movie for what it is!
Direction: Maneesh Sharma
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Review originally published on Express Tribune Blogs.