Yash Raj Film’s latest offering Shudh Desi Romance starring Parineeti Chopra, Sushant Singh Rajput and debutant actress, Vaani Kapoor is out in the theatres today. Alongside releases, Apoorva Lakhia’s Zanjeer – a remake of the 1973 eponymous film which marks the Bollywood debut of popular southern star, Ram Charan Teja, who steps into a role originally essayed by megastar Amitabh Bachchan. While the grapevines are running amuck with questions about whether Big B’s shoes are too big for Ram, another section is interested to see if the release of the two films on the same day will create tension between cousins, Parineeti and Priyanka, who stars opposite Ram in Zanjeer. We however are interested in looking at whether Maneesh Sharma, the Director of Shudh Desi Romance manages to recreate the magic of his debut film, Band Baja Baraat or rekindle the fun and edginess of Ladies vs Ricky Bahl, his second.
Those of you who had seen the initial trailers of Shudh Desi Romance must have seen the erstwhile ‘Ek Chidiya’ (animated song of Doordarshan) score adding to the quirkiness and the characteristic local flavor of Shudh Desi Romance. Set in Jaipur, this film revolves around three main characters and the fourth dimension to this twisted relationship of three is Rishi Kapoor, who essays yet another quirky role effortlessly. He plays the ‘outsider’ who observes the lovers and sometimes breaks into brief commentaries on how muddled their love lives are and how little does it take to change their minds and finally their fear for commitment. Shudh Desi Romance is famously touted to be a film about the ‘young and the restless,’ only in this case the young and the restless do not inhabit lives in big cities like Mumbai or Delhi, but Jaipur, making way for striking visuals of the pink city.
The film explores the concept of ‘live-in relationship’ and looks at how marriage as an institution is losing its ground and will soon become redundant, to the fear of the local wedding planner, ably essayed by Rishi Kapoor. In an interesting juncture in the film, Rishi Kapoor asks, “shadiyan sach mein honi bandh ho jayegi kya” as background scores like ‘chanchal man ati random’ accentuates the ever ‘random’ acts by the young lovers. In one of the scenes Rishi Kapoor quibs, “tum log bhagte bahut ho yaar” – “first after each other and then from one another.” What this film does is it addresses the taboo associated with ‘live-in’ relationship in our societies and asks if it could be an option for today’s youth who believes in remaining non-committal as long as they can and if this could actually be an alternative to marriage.
Though there are ample scope for practical humour and engaging situations, Shudh Desi Romance falters primarily in its pace and plot. The characters go through the same cycles of acceptance and rejection and then accidental meetings over very similar occasions leaving the audience tad tired. The movie doesn’t quite revamp in the second half either, as the characters find themselves utterly tangled in their love lives. What saves the movie from what could have been a total waste of great talents is Jaydeep Sahni’s dialogues, which are pithy and humorous.
The music score by Sachin-Jigar is certainly the highlight of the film and like the title the music too is ‘shuddh’, ‘desi’and has dollops of romance oozing out from the four songs and five instrumentals. The three leads get full points for the roles they play and Sushant Singh Rajput certainly looks like the next big thing in Bollywood. With just two films in his kitty and many years of experience in theatre and TV, this actor has all the things going for him. Parineeti yet again lights up the screen with her ever-so effortless dialogue delivery and the new girl, Vaani matches up to the talents.
If you must watch this film, don’t go with too much expectation like I did. You would not totally write it off but you are not likely to come out gushing either.