Shaadi Ke Side Effects stars two of Bollywood’s most highly thought of stars – Vidya Balan and Farhan Akhtar – the casting is the main plus point of this film and Farhan Akhtar in particular is riveting through the film. As for the story, the originality of the idea and overall fun quotient of the film, there is much the film lacks in those departments; it fails to live up to its promise.
Rating – **1/2
Film – Shaadi Ke Side Effects (Release date 28 February 2014)
Starring – Vidya Balan, Farhan Akhtar, Ram Kapoor, Ila Arun, Purab Kohli, Gautami Kapoor, Vir Das, Purab Kohli
Producer – Balaji Motion Pictures (Ekta Kapoor and Shobha Kapoor) and Pritish Nandy Communications (Pritish and Rangita Nandy)
Director – Saket Chaudhary
Story/Screenplay – Saket Chaudhary, Zeenat Lakhani, Arshad Sayed
Music – Pritam, Mikey McCleary
Shaadi Ke Side Effects Review
The movie starts with a couple – a rather cool looking Farhan Akhtar and Vidya Balan seductively draped over a bar stool – who meet in a night club and proceed to some hot action in a lift and then on to a hotel room. Turns out that they are not strangers at all, but a married couple that likes to keep things interesting by spicing it up in the bedroom. This is how we are introduced to Trisha and Siddharth or Sid Roy (I think they name Hindi film protagonists Siddharth only so the name cane be truncated to Sid and we get to know how hip/cool the guy is) .
This is very much a modern, urban couple where she is the main breadwinner and he is a struggling musician who gets by writing an ad jingle here and there. Then Trisha gets pregnant and after some soul searching, the couple decides to have the baby. The story deals with the ups and downs of the relationship between new parents, a dad who is not quite ready to be a dad, and other various issues.
The burdens of fatherhood mean that he can longer watch football and party with his friends. He is also required not to snore and to fall off the bed quietly lest he wake their sleeping daughter. He is made to feel inadequate, and so he turns to subterfuge to do the things that he enjoys doing. Aww – boo hoo – poor little new dad!
Now while there is nothing that is particularly jarring in the film, the plot is distinctly thin; to my mind the main failing of the film is that it is just not funny enough. The plot is far from original and repeatedly felt like an American TV sitcom. The jokes and situations had a very seen-before look and feel; even Farhan and Vidya’s terrific screen presence could not mask the distinct lack freshness. Also the conflict seemed lame and inadequate and the film is not able to wrest that much of a response from the viewer.
Several instances reiterated that borrowed-from-the-Americans feel – firstly there is Trisha announcing “We are pregnant”, then there is Sid’s dream of videotaping his wife’s delivery, and then there is the couple getting their infant child into a separate bedroom with a baby monitor to keep track of her while they get it on in the bedroom. Even the repeated instances of overly concerned parents having overly detailed descriptions of infant potty seemed straight out of an American sitcom.
There are some nice sub-plots and characters that people the film. There is Trisha’s sister and her seemingly perfect family (played by real life couple Gautami and Ram Kapoor), then there is the bai or domestic help (Ila Arun) who hands out homilies and insists upon being called aunty. There is the angle of the attractive techie neighbour played by Purab Kohli who gives Sid a few uncomfortable moments. Vir Das as the spaced out, hedonistic bachelor is excellent and is really funny as Sid’s crazy flat-mate and party buddy Manav.
However the main problem with the film is its inability to draw the viewer in and elicit sympathy or any kind of emotional response. Even during a discussion about the concept of infidelity and what constitutes an affair one does not really feel invested in the film or the characters. There are some plot holes as well: supposedly, Sid’s character is pretending to work when actually he is holed in a very nice hotel watching TV or out partying with friends. So where is the money coming from? Trisha doesn’t show any semblance of going out to work so how is the couple living their lifestyle, paying their EMIs and paying the bai Rs 15,000 a month? How can Sid decide to suddenly buy a Bullet bike on a whim?
The music of Shaadi Ke Side Effects is good, with some fun dance numbers that have the viewer nodding their heads to the beat. Harry Is Not Brahmachari featuring Jazzy B is Sid and Manav’s party song – one day a party, one day a launch of something, one day a marriage – the picturisation is really enjoyable. The final credits of the film roll to some funny visuals and another enjoyable song, Tauba main vyaah karke pachtaya. Desi Romance is nice and breezy but not particularly memorable.
By Reena Daruwalla
See also: Highway Review – An Ode to Travel