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Thursday, November 9, 2017

Movie Review: Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana

It’s a time when rooted stories based in small towns and the ‘real’ India is working big time. This year, films like SHUBH MANGAL SAAVDHAN and BAREILLY KI BARFI did very well and one of the reasons for their success is the realism rooted in their narratives. SHAADI MEIN ZAROOR AANA is also a content-driven rooted film that also balances by telling a love story as well as a dramatic, confrontational tale. So does it manage to entertain or fails to entice viewers? Let’s analyse.

SHAADI MEIN ZAROOR AANA is the story of a guy who avenges the humiliation he faced during his wedding day. Satyendra Mishra aka Sattu (Rajkummar Rao) is based in Lucknow and is about to join the excise department. His family decides to arrange his marriage with Aarti Shukla (Kriti Kharbanda). Aarti is a bit confused as she feels that marriage might come in the way of her ambitions. But she gels very well with Sattu who in turn falls for her. On the day of the marriage, Aarti's sister Abha (Nayani Dixit) learns that Sattu's mother won’t allow Aarti to work. On the other hand, the results of the PCS exam attempted by Aarti are out and she passes it successfully. Abha advises that she should run away from the marriage and excel professionally. Or else her in laws will destroy her life just like how Abha’s in laws destroyed Abha’s life. Aarti hence runs away. Sattu gets devastated. Five years later, Aarti becomes a sub registrar in Lucknow. One day suddenly she is accused of bribery to the tune of Rs 3 crores. The officer who investigates this case is none other than Sattu, who has now become deputy magistrate! He decides to take revenge from Aarti and make her pay for the humiliation he and his family faced five years ago. What happens next forms the rest of the film.

SHAADI MEIN ZAROOR AANA's first half has issues but you let it pass as the goings on has genuinely some nice moments. The manner in which Sattu and Aarti fall for each other is cute. The entire dowry portion is well thought of. The dramatic sequence when Aarti runs away is dragging but makes for a decent watch. The second half also begins well but soon enough, the film goes downhill. One fails to understand how exactly do the makers want to present Sattu? Should the viewers sympathize with him for all the wrongdoings? Or should they hate him for the villainous and even lecherous way with which he tortures Aarti? The entire bribery investigation sequence ends on a dramatic note and one expects the film to end there. But the film drags for another 20-25 minutes. This portion is again needlessly lengthened and is highly predictable.

Kamal Pandey’s story is interesting but comes too late in the day. Maybe it is not intentionally done but the first half is very similar to the first hour of BADRINATH KI DULHANIA and the last 20 minutes are eerily similar to BAREILLY KI BARFI, which also starred Rajkummar Rao. Kamal Pandey’s screenplay is fine at few places but overall it’s quite a letdown. Kamal Pandey’s dialogues are simple and decent.

Ratnaa Sinha’s direction doesn’t make the desired impact. The film is unconvincing and silly at many points. Many scenes go on and on despite the fact that it’s clear what the maker wants to show in the beginning of the said scene itself.

Rajkummar Rao as always delivers a great performance. As the lover boy Sattu, he’s endearing and as the ruthless DM, he's dashing and plays both the avatars brilliantly. Kriti Kharbanda does a much better job here than her previous Hindi releases. However her character keeps crying in the second half and after a point, it becomes too much. Govind Namdev (Aarti’s father) is fair. Vipin Sharma (Sattu's maternal uncle) leaves a mark. Manoj Pahwa (Aarti’s uncle Jogi) is the best out of the supporting cast. Nayani Dixit comes next and dominates the pre interval portion. K K Raina (Sattu’s father Jugal Kishore Mishra) underplays his part nicely. Navni Parihar (Aarti’s mother) and the actors playing Aarti’s brother, Sattu’s mother, Sharad, Aarti’s junior and Pramod are fine.
Songs are disappointing. 'Jogi' and ‘Main Hoon Saath Tere' are forgettable. 'Tu Banja Gali Benaras Ki’ is the best song of the lot. ‘Pallo Latke' is played in the end credits. Prasad Sashte’s background score is dramatic and tries to enhance the impact.

Suresh Beesaveni’s cinematography is satisfactory. Ballu Saluja’s editing is one of the biggest culprits. Pradip Singh and Arup Adhikari’s art direction is nothing great.

On the whole, SHAADI MEIN ZAROOR AANA rests on an interesting idea but the treatment is lacklustre. With lack of buzz, the film will have a tough time at the box office.

Movie Review: Qarib Qarib Singlle

The dynamics of relationships have undergone a change but it’s not reflected in most of our films. Tanuja Chandra takes up the challenge with QARIB QARIB SINGLLE and with this slice of life saga, she attempts to talk about the various facets of dating in today’s world. So does it connect with the viewers or fails in entertaining them? Let’s analyse.

QARIB QARIB SINGLLE is a story of two people who meet on a dating website and their journey across the country. Jaya (Parvathy Thiruvothu) is a 35 year old widow who feels a void in her life. She signs up on a dating website and meets a 40 year old poet Yogi (Irrfan Khan). He's quirky, talkative and diametrically opposite to Jaya. But Jaya feels connected to him. Yogi claims that he has dated three girls in his life and they all miss him a lot still. Jaya tells him that he's simply bragging. Yogi however remains adamant on his claims and tells her to join him in meeting them. Jaya refuses at first but then agrees. How this trip takes their relationship forward forms the rest of the film.

QARIB QARIB SINGLLE commences on a great note. The opening credits very well explain how lonely Jaya is. Jaya-Yogi's first meeting is hilarious. The mischief that Yogi does with the lecherous men who had pinged Jaya on the dating app is sure to bring the house down. The real fun however begins when their trip commences and the various mishaps that happen on the way add to the fun. The Rishikesh episode is sweet and light. The Alwar episode has its moments but the film drags and the interest level drops. The interest however is revived in the Gangtok sequence.

Kamna Chandra’s story is extremely relatable as it talks about loneliness, need for relationship, dating apps etc. Also, the two main characters are well written which helps the film stand out. Tanuja Chandra and Gazal Dhaliwal’s screenplay is breezy and simple. The nuances and subtle hints are nicely inserted in the film. Gazal Dhaliwal’s dialogues are one of the highpoints of the film. Many one liners take the film on a high.

Tanuja Chandra’s direction is neat and the film is drastically different from the intense films that she has made in the past. She has handled the plot with maturity and sensitivity. This helps in giving the film a nice touch. At the same time, the film is very niche. The mainstream appeal is definitely missing. Also the film moves at a slow pace and the Alwar episode is a bit of a downer.

Irrfan Khan yet again delivers a spectacular performance. He is a pro when it comes to such quirky performances. Yet he ensures that you won’t be reminded of his similar previous performance. That’s no easy feat. Parvathy Thiruvothu is a powerhouse performer and steals the show. She is an unknown name in Bollywood as of now but after this film, she’ll surely be talked about. Brijendra Kala is funny in the cameo. Neha Dhupia (Anjali) is alright. Pushtiie Shakti (Radha) is impressive. Isha Sharvani (Gazal) is there for a one minute sequence and is alright. Siddharth Menon (Ashish) is quite good especially in his scenes with Yogi. Luke Kenny (Sidkong) is okay. Navneet Nishan and the actor playing the driver are good.

The songs sadly don’t make an impact. ‘Khatam Kahani’ is the most memorable. ‘Jaane De’ and ‘Tu Chale Toh’ are forgettable. The background score is subtle and effective. Eeshit Narain’s cinematography is breathtaking. The lensman has captured the locales of Rishikesh, Rajasthan and Gangtok beautifully. Chandan Arora’s editing is fair although few scenes are slightly stretched. Ravi Shrivastava’s production design is rich. Maria Tharakan and Kirti Kolwankar’s costumes are eye catching, especially the ones worn by Irrfan.

On the whole, QARIB QARIB SINGLLE is a feel good love story cum road trip film. Despite low buzz and not much of a mass appeal, the film leaves a smile on your face and has the potential for young and urban audiences.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

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