Language : Hindi | Running Time : 141 Minutes | Director : Maneesh Sharma
One of the biggest pressures in Indian society is to get married. The Indian society judges your every act when it comes to a relationship with a member of the opposite sex and if it learns that you are involved in a relationship with a member of the same-sex, there’s high chance that you won’t be treated normally. Shuddh Desi Romance is the rom-com that takes a dig at the pressure that society places on you to get married. In a country where rom-coms are generally about a couple finding eternal love and fighting against society to stay together, it is refreshing to have a movie that is reflective of present day. There are many a time we watch a movie and we don’t find ourselves in it. Shuddh Desi Romance is a progression from all the earlier Yash Raj Films productions, including the recent Jab Tak Hai Jaan.
Raghuram Seetaram (Sushanth Singh Rajput) who likes to be known as Raghu, who wouldn’t with the kind of name he has been bestowed with, talk to us by breaking the fourth wall. It is rare to see such a technique employed in films. Raghu tells us about the sham that marriage is and how it is a pressure that he has to face now. After his brilliant performance in Kai Po Che, the actor is back with a bang. He plays the tentative, unsure and stumbling womanizing Raghu to perfection. We are a generation that is okay with women smoking, drinking but when it comes to knowing about their past relationships it irks us, we feel undone. We don’t want to know if the guy was better than us in bed or if he gave more to the girl when not making love. We tell ourselves that it is alright if she had someone but then the hypocrites that we are, we never feel good about it. Raghu and Gayatri(Parineeti Chopra) have one such relationship. Both express their disdain for marriages. They are okay living together, sharing the duties of husband and wife but they don’t see the point of committing themselves to the union on marriage, legalising it.
Raghu is like a child. Indecisive as to what he wants. He is sure he doesn’t want marriage but when it comes to choosing women to go out with, he is quick and very good at it. When it comes to choosing between whom to live with, Tara (Vaani Kapoor) or Gayatri, Raghu doesn’t have a clue. In his relationships with both women, he is not the decision maker. He follows his women religiously, gives them a lot of love and is basically inept at making decisions except when it comes to running away from marriages. All this is done with charm, sweetness and a bumbling attitude that is almost impossible to not like.
I feared that Parineeti Chopra might become another one of those bubbly actresses who couldn’t be anything but girlishly bubbly on-screen(read the Genelia D’Souza kind). The actress occupies the screen very well and almost outshines every other actor in the film. When she learns that Raghu has been finding about her past, she acts the hurt damsel very well and when she sees him after months the surprise at seeing him with Tara is evident but there’s hardly any guilt. One of the funniest sequences in the movie is when both Raghu and Gayatri independently go to Mr.Goyal(Rishi Kapoor) enquire about each other. The very double standards that the movie is addressing is at play here and the way such things are written into the film make for some very good writing by Jaideep Sahni.
This is a movie where there is no scope for morality or melodrama to step in. Gone are the days when the bride would break down melodramatically when the groom left her at the altar. Here, Tara calmly says “thanda lao”. All the three characters are wonderfully shaped. They aren’t the screen perfect characters that Bollywood has been doling out aplenty throughout its existence but more of a character from the audience.
After watching Kai Po Che, I said that Sushanth Singh Rajput will go places if he avoids being typecast and I sincerely hope that he can avoid the lure. He is sensational even when finding it difficult to ask for cold drinks after seeing his estranged lover. The three leads and Rishi Kapoor are sensational on-screen and
Maneesh Sharma’s third film is based in Jaipur. The fact that it is situated in a small-town and not one of the metros allows Sahni and Sharma the liberty to make sure that everyone knows everyone and this circle provides and entertaining exchange between the characters. Where else could a guy tell that he’ll pay for the gulab jamuns on the next day? Where else could a man be a tourist guide and also serve as an extra in the baraat party and still be financially stable? There’s freedom created here, abandoning all the old school notions associated with small town India and here we have a film about today’s youngsters who aren’t ready to marry at the onset of love.
The only problem with Shudhdh Desi Romance is that it doesn’t give much focus on the development of a romance between Raghu and Gayatri. It moves on from see, have sex, have more sex, ditch each other, meet again, live together again. There’s very little development of the romance. It is too quick for a serious relationship that it tries to portray especially when one of them is someone like Gayatri. It is rather surprising that Gayatri’s parents are never around when she is getting married. Of the three, she is the only one with parents. I am not sure if I missed out on them going away from her as well. The movie is a little too much of “chill maar, beedi fook” that it could be any youngster of today and it might not sit down well with people from a certain generation but with the way relationships are being made today, this is how it is. If a house is burning down, we are confident of our insurance paying us. So, what’s the point in crying about it. So, just “chill maar and beedi fook”. Sahni has got the attitude of the characters right and they are very mature for their age. There are no outbursts, no over the top actions, we could have done with a few but that’s not something to complain about now.
Shuddh Desi Romance is a wonderful take on the reluctance to get married among the current generation. It doesn’t take a moral stand of what’s right or wrong but just paints a colourful picture of what the youngsters think is alright. When was the last time we had a rom-com where the burgeoning need of the couple was not to find someone and get married? Shuddh Desi Romance doesn’t beat around the bush and effectively conveys what it has to say. It isn’t a plot that is the conventional three-part story which makes sense. It is episodic but the episodes somehow add up to create a nice movie. This is a movie about the people who can’t make up their minds, who aren’t worried about what the society thinks is right or wrong but does everything that the heart directs it to do. Because chanchal man is ati random, Shuddh Desi Romance is a rom-com that defines this generation.