Saturday, September 21, 2013

Shudh Desi Romance

Been wanting to write about SDR, damn these old lazy complacent bones.
I was excited yet skeptical to watch the film because of a few names.

    a ) Jaidepp Sahni (Chak De India, Khosla ka Ghosla and Rocket Singh fame) {But he had also written Aja Nachle, so I was not very sure. I gave him the benefit of doubt, 3 good films vs 1 bad film, also the big producers must have bullied him to write Aaja Nachle for Madhuri’s comeback.) I was ready to take a chance.

           b) Man’ee’sh Sharma- I hated him initially. On one hormonal day, I travelled from Sharjah to Bur Dubai, spent full hundred dhirams on travel, tickets, cola and popcorn to feast my eyes on Celina Jaitley as she locks lips with Emran Hashmi in Sharma’s (Man’i’sh then) directorial debut- Jawani Deewani, only to see jerkily edited scenes as they were ruthlessly chopped for UAE screening. I could never forgive him for that disaster till he redeemed himself with Band Baja Baraat.
           c) Sushant Singh Rajput- I was curious to know how he fared in his second film, as I always feel the second film is your litmus test.

           d) Parineeti Chopra- her repertoire of films shows how versatile she is really. Gutsy bubbly girl in Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl, gutsy bubbly girl in Ishaqzade and guess what- gutsy bubbly girl in Shudh Desi Romance. (I am hoping sarcasm is not wasted here on some people.) In her defense she is quite a natural on screen though.

         e) Vani Kapoor- the leggy lass who lavishly locked lips in her debut, damn the edited screening here in the UAE, yet again, showed promise.

Things that work for me.

                a) Concept- It took almost eight years and many a films for the biggest production house in the country,YRF, to learn that there can be live in relationship stories in the heart of our country too.  We don’t have to travel all the way to Australia to have a doctor girl live in with a restaurateur (read Salaam Namaste). It is such a refreshing change to see the story shift its base from the foreign Blue Mountains to our very own Blue city (ok agreed major parts of the film are shot in the Pink City!)

   Not only the characters seem chilled with the live in relationship, the so called small town conservative Indian society too seems to accept it largely. And that is sheer progress for me- Not the concept of live in relationship but not to be judgmental about it, to accept people as they are and not question their sensibilities, their decisions about marriage and sex is a sign of maturity and evolution for me.

And that brings me to the owner of Goyal caterers in the film and the other performances.

            b) Rishi Kapoor- Goyal could be inwardly shocked and in disagreement about the youth’s idea of love but at no point in the film he seems to preach or judge. He is the cute adorable elderly Rajasthani gentleman who is ready to lend a patient ear to the youngsters, hear them out and finally pack in a quite a punch with his advice in some subtle yet sharp witted dialogues- patloon ka paplu bada nachata hain. Rishi Kapoor has finally started acting (Do dooni chaar, Agneepath, D Day) in his second innings. In his first innings he just wore pastel shade sweaters and danced around trees.

            c) Sushant Singh Rajput- Dibakar Banerkee before signing him up for Vyomkesh Bakshi said “he is the only actor to emerge from the latest crop of stars we have.” I concur completely. Someone who has Irrfan Khan and Nawazudin Siddique as his favorites can barely go wrong. Raghu is your typical small town boy, cheeky confident yet unsure and Sushant plays it with conviction and ease.

           d) Parineeti as always is comfortable in front of the camera and plays her part well.
            e) Vani Kapoor – A new actor is usually awkward- (Imran Khan in JTYJN, Ranbir in Sawariyan and Kajol in Bekhudi. It took a DDLJ for her to show her calm, mature side as an actor, in sharp contrast to her rather screaming debut in Bekhudi
New comers are either too chatty/screechy or too shy. Vani is none. She is calm and composed not only in the movie but in her interviews too. She exudes immense confidence for her debut.
             f) Music- It’s almost uncomforting for me to admit I like Sachin Jigar as much as I like Amit Trivedi if not mo re. There you go- I said it! ON RECORD!! I never thought I could like anyone as much as Amit Trivedi but Sachin Jigar have convinced me to fall in love with them all OVER AGAIN! They have been pulling out a new trick with every film they do. If char baj gaye in Faltu was your ‘clubby-let’s-go-on-a-drive-with-friends’ song, Saibo in Shor in the City was in sharp contrast, mellow and melodious. Go Goa Gone was trippy and Shudh Desi Romance is deeply rooted in the sounds of the sands. In a line, I am impressed.

             g) Lyrics- Jaideep Sahni has written amazing songs if not the film (Wait I am coming to bad parts of the film soon!) I enjoyed all the songs and loved the use of the word ‘ati random’ for the rather ‘chanchal mann’ of the youth. Encompasses their dilemma pretty effectively.

Things that didn’t work for me-

a)      Story- it’s an interesting story told unconvincingly. I sense the chemistry between characters and understand how hormones lead to attraction, but I don’t see love. There never was in Shudh Desi Romance. At least I never felt.
b)      Humor is difficult to depict. There are different forms of comedy but I like it the most when it’s subtle and situational. The film abounds with many fun moments but get too repetitive. Things are funny when said once or maybe twice, after that they become a yawn-let-me-grab-popcorn in the meantime moments. (refer to the toilet runaway scenes in the film)
In all the film is fun, half baked emotions, lack of a strong storyline yet passable. The film lives upto its title- Shudh Desi Romance, if not love. Teehee. Choose it over sitting idle at home or mindless shopping at a mall!!