Rishi Kapoor as Goel Jee/Taau Jee
Sushant Singh Rajput as Raghuram Sitaram
Parineeti Chopra as Gayatri
Vaani Kapoor as Tara
The ultimate bite comes to haunt people again, as SHUDDH DESI ROMANCE romances a topic that puts forth a salvo of wayward emotional whirlpool in almost every human walking, talking, breathing, and living on this planet—at least of a certain age group. The much dreaded, the much loved, and the cannot-do-without topic of love, romance, and relationship; that is SDR at its optimum, in a complete nutshell. The primary characters—Raghu Ram, Gayatri, and Tara essayed in order by the versatile Sushant Singh Rajput of Kai Po Che, the bombastic Parineeti Chopra, and the confident debutant in Vaani Kapoor—delve into the perpetual and abstract reality of aluminous love, in search for the common factors behind the science of togetherness and the causes behind the vaporization of solid love. Is it love? Should it remain as love—open and wide for one to jump in and out, with liberty? Plainly, what is love? Shuddh Desi Romance is a rom-com perspective on these wonderful, philosophical issues that travel around the Indian subcontinent—not quite shuddh (pure) and certainly not desi (local, Indian).
Set in the wonderful, Pink City of India, Jaipur, the story follows our bridegroom in pride, Raghu, and his assembled crew of baraatis—reveling towards Ajmer in the wedding precession of Raghu. Part of the precession is the young, dashing, and loud-mouthed Gayatri, and there begins a pre-marital affair that sets up the tone of the movie—the events to follow, and a peak into the romantic ventures of the three people surrounded by the garland of marriage, attraction, love, and longing. Typifying human susceptibility and the wavering mind, SDR charms its way through realistic, awkward, and comedic sequences to put across a social message behind every layer of comedy and drama adjoining this entertainment ride.
Coming from the pen of the highly rated Jaideep Sahini (Rocket Singh, Chak De India!, Khosla Ka Ghosla, Company), SDR primarily shows the rides of ups and downs in human sentiments, with love and marriage as perceived from the desi Indian point-of-view and the changing reality of marriages, romance, and relationships—from the lockers of marriage in the past to the increasing trends of living together bounded by no bounds, a live-in relationship. The movie assumes itself as the first movie to tackle the subject of live-in relationships in the context of India, especially in the cultural habitat of Rajasthan. Taking a page off the immortal Osho, SDR seeks to question the validity of binding oneself into a permanent relationship with a single person, within the authority of the society. On the contrary, true human emotions call for an independent relationship where love exists, without boundaries—accepting love as fun, play, and romance as opposed to the burdens of responsibility, organization, and the sense of seriousness a traditional marriage brings forward, as an eternal gift.
A unique concept at desi level, yet an overly collective trend in the arms of reality, Shuddh Desi Romance takes a leap into the revolutionary spirit as a story. The presentation by the man behind the Band Baaja Baarat fame, Maneesh Sharma, the director presents this wonderful concept in a melodic, at times poetic manner—moving with a loose pace, whilst also providing every bit of information for the viewers to grasp the story and play along the enjoyment of the ride of the characters in the movie. With all the positives and the wonderful concept, SDR does reach a point where it feels, the movie stagnated and hit the wall. Whilst very entertaining, the repetitions of scenes, dialogues, scenarios, and coincidences end up feeling stretched and not-so-joyful after watching the same events occur with the roles reversed over and over again.
The notion behind the presentation is obviously neat and even stunning, to some extent—but the degree to which the storyteller abuses the technique hints towards lazy writing, especially the climax and the events leading towards the climax. Most importantly, the handling of the Tara incident makes the entire debacle seem so phony, especially when the highlight man himself—Jaideep Sahani—holds the fate of these characters in his fingers. One of the most upsetting—not personal, but the upset in the flow of an otherwise free flowing story—twists and conclusions to a character; it completely sabotages the reaction the climax could have generated from moviegoers, whilst also projecting the highly intelligent character of Tara as somewhat green, rough—and mysterious in her own wonderful ways. The portrayal of the character of Tara seemed much perplexing, as she is shown as somebody with raw intelligence at times—understanding, smart, and wise—but a complete fool for falling for the same trap again with the same person, and involving the same trigger.
The characterizations of most characters are almost flawless, except the Tara riddle. Even her character is brilliantly drawn, having strong emotional and cerebral functioning—only to be letdown by what one would suppose, lazy writing during the end. The charisma of one Rishi Kapoor as Goel Jee is as natural, real, and imaginative as possible, with Rishi Kapoor donning the Rajasthani flavor with such simplicity and vigor. It was truly marvelous watching the great actor in Rishi Kapoor putting on a showcase performance despite not having the strongest of idiosyncrasies in his character. On the same plane, Parineeti Chopra is at risk of falling in the “bubbly bubble” category of roles as she is again in the pigeonhole of roles. Despite the similarities of Gayatri to her previous roles, Parineeti Chopra stuns with her mannerisms and the one sign of relief one sees with her: her naturalness, her girl-next-door persona, and her being her—a bubbly firecracker. Vaani Kapoor puts in a terrific performance in her debut, with supreme grace, confidence, and astuteness. In terms of performances, SDR has every actor putting their best clothes on show—emoting with absolute ease and powerful weave.
For an Indian Cinema fanatic, 2013 hasn’t been a year of thrills—as many movies have disappointed, or have turned to be wrong for all the reasons. Nonetheless, Shuddh Desi Romance might just creep in as the most entertaining and properly presented movie of this year, filled with honest performances, realistic characters, natural setting, and some pleasing moments with a strong story to back it all. Not to forget the well timed and perfectly executed background music and songs borrowed from yesteryear movies, all of such musical notes only added to charm, the enhancements, and the presentation of this romantic movie—whether desi or videsi (foreign)! Highly recommended for lovers, couples, friends, and fans of cinema. Especially recommended for those standing on either side of the marriage polar! Pure, local romance—indeed!
Image Credit – Indian Nerve, IBN, India Forums, Xclusive Songs, India Times