Shuddh Desi Romance – Refreshingly Desi!   Leave a comment

I never ever thought i’d be fond of cheesy movies like Band Baja Baaraat, Bunty Aur Babli, I think it is because of its faithful, as-is portrayal of relationships, very modern yet Desi! And in all probability, I find that element, ingredient to be Super-Duper-Uber-Cool, because it really adds that extra zing, liveliness!! In view with that, a friend of mine recommended, brand new Yash Raj banner film (sorta loathe yash raj banners) called Shudd Desi Romance, and to my surprise I just loved the movie! Neither had watched trailers nor had listened to its soundtrack, had zero knowledge of its technical crew and that entire yawn, so when I digged info, the results were really astonishing, impressive. Story, Screenplay, Dialogues and Lyrics for Shudd Desi Romance are written by Jaideep Sahni of Jungle, Company, Bunty Aur Babli, Khosla Ka Ghosla, Chak De India, Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year fame, wow such an impressive map! And it is directed by Maneesh Sharma of Band Baaja Baaraat, Ladies vs Ricky Bahl fame. So, there you go… I hadn’t realized that, Shudd Desi Romance was a product from Jaideep-Maneesh combo.

SDR is unlike any other Romantic comedy movie, that’s because it addresses issues like, live-in relationships, its consequent marriage commitments, its consequent betrayal, modern outlook v/s traditional values of the youth from alleged ‘small towns’, all of which Mr Sahni beautifully summates : “I’m fascinated by cities like Jaipur, Lucknow, Indore, Kochi, which are the engines that are running India. They are different from the metros, which are world cities that operate on another level from the rest of the country. They are not the ‘small towns’ Bollywood thinks they are and portrays them to be, just because people in them speak Hindi more than they do English. These are places buzzing with energy, where things are actually happening. The funny thing about these places is that the youngsters here have their feet in two boats: the traditional and desi, and the modern. You have a guy selling kachori who has two mobile phones. You have a dupatta salesman who can convert currencies and talk to tourists in seven different languages—to the extent his profession demands. It’s really exciting for me, as a storyteller, to see how young people try to navigate their love lives in these environments, with some following the traditional mindset (but only to an extent), and some breaking out of it completely and experimenting with relationships.”

Truthfully, I sort-aa have experienced this: a guy selling kachori who has two mobile phones, a dupatta salesman who can convert currencies and talk to tourists in seven different languages and I really do understand why Mr.Sahani wants to describe their love lives, because there are conflicts in it, which are genuine and refining, that simply sparkle than a fixated traditional romance, added to that there’s humor too and that makes all the difference!!

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The movie begins with a fantastic monologue from Raghuram Sitaram (Sushant Singh Rajput) and in a sherwani, he looks perplexed, sincerely talks about love, marriage, commitment. I just loved the dialogue… “… toh dekhna hi padega na, Apne hisab se ladkiyan bhi dekh rahe hote hain… Unke be.. (pause) Armaan hote hain” hahahahaha, I was like… he was going to say what he would’ve thought otherwise :D These subtle pauses or silence in a monologue are so imperative, that they make ordinary look extraordinary. Then after chanchal mann, ati random opening credits, camera focuses on the signboard Goel Caterers, Decorators – Jaipur and slowly pans into a street where in the band members are arguing about their skills, Senior Band Memeber: ‘Yeh Desh Hai Veer Jawano ka’ mein ‘Aaj Mera Yaar ki Shaadi hai’ ghusedi na , to wahi rakk-ke.. dunga..  kan ke neeche ! Ghusad! Bwahahaha watta superb line, but the Junior’s reply, is… even more… hilarious: Beedi pee peeke Jo bajaathe unke morale down karthe rathe ho aap , Mein bajaaoon toh kaanon mein pain, aur aap bajaoo toh Tansen?” :D

Soon after, we are introduced to the dulha, i.e Raghuram, his mentor/employer Goel (Rishi Kapoor) and gorgeous Gayatri (Parineeti Chopra). Gayatri and others (raghu’s friends) are called in as substitutes a.k.a fake baraati’s for Raghuram’s wedding. During the journey to Ajmer, Raghuram casually flirts with Gayatri and explains about his dwindling uncertainty for marriage; Gayatri too… loosens up and explains her ex-boyfriends haaton, baaton wala patterns ;) They converse freely without inhibitions and end up kissing each other. Gayatri in her monologue talks on the repercussions and contradictions of arranged marriages: “Aaj shaadi ko haan kardo baad mein sab hojayega , Baarat to waise Gehne check karne ke liye hoti hain, par Shaadiyan mein to… poore hidustan ka jhoot aur double standards baahar ajata hai”  :) and by constructing a candid Shaadi platform, the movie explains the same. Raghu finally chooses to run away from his wedding, from radiant Tara (Vani Kappoor), his yet-to-be wife and that establishes a tone for things to come.

Sahni eloquently adds “There is a kind of oppressiveness in our so-called culture that pinches me. There is hypocrisy and fraud in the name of that all-encompassing word ‘maryada’. And this is a war that millions of youngsters fight every day. I mean, how many lies do girls have to tell every day in order to do what any young woman anywhere else in the world can do as a matter of right? Why is this 5,000-year-old civilisation making the youth lie all the time?

I’m just trying to discuss. I just want to tell my people to breathe, and let the young be, and let them discover things on their own. These are the guys who’ll be running the country 10 years from now, because youngsters from the metros will fly away to America. It’s these kids who are the cutting edge of our swords against feudal traditions.”

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.. And he accomplishes, by weaving a simplistic story through myriad of hypocritical intricacies. His characters blend seamlessly with everyday life both mentally, geographically. Kachori, Thalis, Shauchalays, thanda form an integral part of the movie and most of the shots are accompanied by prominent Bollywood songs in background which act as metaphor. There are loads of it to talk because the story is so well written, every dialogue, every shot in the movie is carefully planned and of course brilliantly acted. Sushant Singh Rajput for his panache in womanizing, street smart tomfoolery, Parineeti for her crisp natural fearlessness in personifying modern independent woman, Vani Kapoor for her Gulaabi freshness, practical thinking. Old wine Rishi Kapoor for his skillful supporting role (am sure it’ll bring him accolades). Editing (Namrata Rao) is top notch, circumstanced Music (Sachin – Jigar) is perky, there are only two songs in the movie which the tenacious ladies share a piece with puckish Rajput. There’s repetitiveness (dialogues) too, but it adds unbridled charm. Monologues are the soul which unreservedly delves into the depths of the protagonists minds. Of all, I felt Tara’s Azzad hogayi was insanely mature, sensible.

But what enamored me most about SDR is its exposed perennial confusion (intended). The women depicted in the movie Talk! They are Smart, decisive, practical, and have backbone. Regardless of domineering charisma, there are unsettling confusions, flaws which really shape innate contours of their heart and make it charming, beautiful.

References:
Jaideep Sahni – Interview
Young love beats anew with Shuddh Desi Romance

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