Shudhdh Desi Romance is a story set in Jaipur and begins with Shushant Singh’s character Raghu (that would be Raghu Ram Sita Ram, but he prefers only Raghu) getting ready to board a bus that will take him and his Baaratis to the venue where he is to get married. He is accompanied by his wedding organizer, cum-caterer cum relationship adviser (Rishi Kapoor who plays Tauji) and various bhaade ke baraati (hired members of a wedding procession). Parineeti Chopra’s character Gayatri, is one of those hired baraatis.
On the way to the wedding (an overnight journey by bus), Raghu and Gayatri get to know each other and also indulge in some necking (first few of the alleged 27 kisses in this film). What we then have is the dulha running way from the mandap leaving the dulhan (Tara played by debutant Vaani Kapoor) leaving her high and dry, ‘varmala’ still in hand. He supposedly had to go to the bathroom. This is the first of the bathroom visits – as the movie progresses we realise that this bathroom is virtually a character by itself in the film – so often does it feature in Shuddha Desi Romance.
Raghu is a travel guide and makes a living getting credulous foreign visitors to buy Jaipuri bandhanis and similar. He meets Gayatri again, soon the two become lovers, and he promptly moves in with her. We are properly introduced to the third angle of the love triangle, namely Tara, a little later in the movie when Raghu, himself a hired baraati, bumps into her at yet another wedding. (Jaipur clearly is a place where people get married a lot.)
Now this is very definitely a modern romance – nothing coy or hesitant or shy about the way the two young people meet, fall in lust and swiftly move to act on their feelings. It is about independent girls who live by themselves and live life on their own terms. However it is also a desi romance – when Raghu and Gayatri start to live together, they do still try to hide this from the neighbours – visiting my sister, says Raghu’s character when asked who he was visiting.
Even though the girl smokes, and admits to several previous relationships, there are some delightful instances of this very Indian-ness throughout the film. So in that sense it is a desi romance – albeit a thoroughly modern desi romance. The movie is littered with some genuinely funny moments and some very endearing ones as well. The crowd in the theater consisted almost entirely of young people so there was predictably some amount of hooting and clapping at some of the significant moments of the film.
The movie moves swiftly through a minefield of emotional issues: there is attraction, love, commitment phobia. It is an enjoyable, well told story with well etched characters. It is not a movie for the more conventionally minded. It is for those who know that young India has moved on, is willing to go after what it wants; and be dammed with the rest of the world! As a take on relationships, the film skims on the surface, not delving into the intricacies and emotional turmoil. This is not a deep, meaningful critique of relationships – it makes us laugh, not cry.
Sushant Singh Rajput does an excellent job as the emotionally immature, commitment phobic, indolent young man who goes by his instinct and is content to drift into relationships, letting them take him where they will. Parineeti Chopra does a great job too – as a thoroughly modern young woman, who, though fearful about having her heart broken, is flippant about it and is still willing to follow her heart.
Debutant Vaani Kapoor is elegant and enigmatic – her character seems mostly amused at the world and its vicissitudes; at relationships and their foibles. Her character again is that of a woman with a thoroughly modern outlook who takes it in her stride both when she is dumped and when she is wooed. Rishi Kapoor is… well he is adorable! With his big moustaches, rustic accent and unsophisticated relationship advice, he just fits his role to a T.
The music is enjoyable, and generally in keeping with the narrative though there may have been one too many songs there – particularly the lip-synched songs. The movie starts with a thoroughly enjoyable song that is composed of vignettes from myriad such ‘desi romances’ again fun!
Film – Shudhdh Desi Romance (Release date 6 September 2013)
Starring – Sushant Singh Rajput, Parineeti Chopra, Vaani Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor
Producer – Aditya Chopra
Director – Maneesh Sharma
Story/Screenplay – Jaideep Sahni
Music – Sachin-Jigar
Stars – ****
The screenplay is fresh, humorous and enjoyable. Maneesh Sharma’s direction produces a film that is taut well paced and fun (there’s that word again). We hope to see more from this writer/director of Band Baaja Baarat and director of Ladies vs Ricky Bahl. If you want your fill of weekend fun may I recommend Shuddh Desi Romance ?