Shuddh Desi Romance Movie Review by Taran Adarsh

Live-in relationships are a commonality in the West, but it still raises eyebrows in India. It’s often considered taboo and spoken about disapprovingly by the orthodox in towns and also by several people living in a metropolis. SHUDDH DESI ROMANCE is, perhaps, the first Hindi film that looks at live-in relationships and pre-marital sex in the heartland [Jaipur] of India. Sure, Yash Raj did have a look at live-in relationships in SALAAM | NAMASTE, but that film, if you recall, was set in Australia.

Maneesh Sharma, who helmed the immensely likeable BAND BAAJA BAARAAT and appealing-in-parts LADIES VS RICKY BEHL, is ready to undertake an uncharted trail in his third excursion SHUDDH DESI ROMANCE. This time, he talks of love, attraction and commitment in a real space. The question is, how open-minded are we today? With SHUDDH DESI ROMANCE, Maneesh makes a heartfelt attempt to decode and decipher several issues pertaining to intricate relationships.

True to its title, SHUDDH DESI ROMANCE is indeed a shuddh [pure] take at live-in relationships involving desi characters and looks at the highs and lows that come with it. Although the spectator has, over the decades, witnessed innumerable interpretations of love and romance, Maneesh and writer Jaideep Sahni make sure they don’t take a leaf out of been-there-seen-that kind of situations. Instead, they ensure that the three characters in SHUDDH DESI ROMANCE follow their hearts and don’t succumb to the diktats of the society. Also, they speak an uninhibited lingo, which hasn’t been spoken in Hindi films earlier. They are not rebellious, but straightforward. And that, in all honesty, is the prime reason that gives this film an edge.

SHUDDH DESI ROMANCE is the journey of three restless young people who junk the society’s syllabus for finding love and decide to follow their heart. Raghu [Sushant Singh Rajput], a tourist guide in Jaipur, wants a love in his life… Gayatri [Parineeti Chopra], a part-time instructor in an English-speaking institute, has been around the block a few times and knows the scene… Tara [Vaani Kapoor], who’s dying to get out there and fly, knows what’s right for her, but a little experimenting never hurt anybody, did it?… When their lives crisscross, their beliefs get challenged and their loves, tested.

Writer Jaideep Sahni, who has penned films like BUNTY AUR BABLI, CHAK DE! INDIA, AAJA NACHLE and ROCKET SINGH: SALESMAN OF THE YEAR for Yash Raj, opts for a plot that’s borrowed from slice of life. The characters in SHUDDH DESI ROMANCE mirror the mindset of several youngsters in contemporary times and how the meaning of love and commitment has undergone a complete change in the present context. The obstacles in the form of caste, religion and culture seem passé, frankly. Dating, pre-marital sex and marriage are three diverse issues, unlike earlier times, when matrimony was a beautiful culmination in a relationship… Armed with an unsullied plot and creative situations, director Maneesh Sharma breaks away from the conventional thought process and paints a picture that challenges the mindset of the conformists.

Additionally, everything that Maneesh and Jaideep attempt to convey through their characters in SHUDDH DESI ROMANCE looks credible and relevant. The good thing is, there’s no preaching or sermonizing vis-à-vis who’s right or wrong; it’s more of a dialogue with our peers. You need to change with the times and cinema needs to grow as well. This film does exactly that without belittling the traditional beliefs. More significantly, all of this is presented in an entertaining format.

The only glitch in the otherwise smooth narrative is that the pacing slows down considerably in the second hour. Also, Vaani’s stance is a little difficult to absorb. In fact, her exit — without offering any concrete reason — looks a bit unreal. However, all said and done, the commitment-phobic attitude of the new generation comes across very well in the narrative.

Sachin-Jigar’s soundtrack garnishes the goings-on wonderfully. The gifted composers, who have delivered musical hits in the past, live up to the faith reposed in them. ‘Gulabi’ and the title track are infectious compositions. The DoP captures the rustic flavor with meticulousness.

After leaving a tremendous impression in his first Hindi outing, Sushant Singh Rajput wows you with a remarkable portrayal yet again. He brings a lot of freshness with his unpretentious and spontaneous act. Parineeti Chopra gets into the bindaas zone yet again, a role that’s become synonymous with her of late. She seems to be going from strength to strength with every film. Vaani Kapoor is self-assured and doesn’t seem overwhelmed by her skilled co-stars. Rishi Kapoor is, like always, in terrific form. Rajesh Sharma is okay in a cameo.

On the whole, SHUDDH DESI ROMANCE caters to the youth and reflects the mindset of a chunk of the youth these days. The film, which speaks a different lingo, is a gutsy attempt that defies the stereotype. Told in an entertaining format, it is sure to strike a chord with not just the youngsters, but also with those who love shudh [unchartered, in this case] storylines. Refreshingly different, give this one a chance. Recommended!

Rating: 3.5/5

  1. Avatar Author
    aryan 7 years ago

    Shuddh Desi Romance Movie Review by Sukanya Verma

    Shuddh Desi Romance has NO dull moments

    Shuddh Desi Romance conveys a simple but underrated philosophy in the most fun way possible, feels Sukanya Verma.

    If everybody acted on the instincts they felt on the day of their wedding, it would result in a mass ‘Shuddh Desi Romance’ syndrome.

    Call it nervousness, last-minute jitters or hesitation but the idea of going through an elaborate ceremony witnessed by a huge crowd of people you barely recognise (and is probably finding faults with your make-up) is no one’s idea of everlasting bliss and triggers an unexplainable urge to run.

    Writer Jaideep Sahni offers a perfectly logical explanation for this untimely panic attack, ‘Doubt ghadee dekhkar thodina aate hai.’

    Weddings are largely (and arguably) expensive, public spectacles of a private sentiment, which can be carried out even in its absence. Director Maneesh Sharma explores this space, wearing somewhat rose-tinted glasses, with his new romantic comedy, Shuddh Desi Romance.

    Live-in relationships are not a novelty at Yash Raj. Films like Deewar (Amitabh Bachchan-Parveen Babi), Salaam Namaste (Saif Ali Khan-Preity Zinta) or Bachna Ae Haseeno (Ranbir Kapoor-Bipasha Basu) marked its presence in varying degree.

    Only unlike Salaam Namaste, which is set in Australia and concerns itself with the difficulties and compromises of such arrangements, Shuddh Desi Romance unfolds in modern-day Jaipur (shot lavishly by Manu Anand) and maintains a tongue-in-cheek tone from start to finish.

    Ironically, this is from a banner that’s faced criticism for their glossy marriage-obsessed musical packages. With Shuddh Desi Romance, Yash Raj endorses a script that parodies the event if not the institution with Sahni’s humorously-penned repartees and a set of perfectly cast actors.

    The script bears an urban spirit but the earthiness of Sushant Singh Rajput, Parineeti Chopra and Vaani Kapoor and their comfort in slipping under Raghu, Gayatri and Tara’s skin conceals many of its awkwardness or inadequacies.

    They’re perplexingly similar in so many ways — easy on ambition, light-weight emotionality and quirky without warning. It makes their interactions both amusing and impersonal. And then comes that fascinating paradox challenging everything.

    There is a crackling chemistry between Raghu and Gayatri, Raghu and Tara as well as Gayatri and Tara. They’re the children of wild, unchecked impulses inhabiting a world where heartbreak doesn’t mean end of the world and letting go is easily said, easily done.

    If the troika represent an aversion for complying to a society-dictated commitment, Rishi Kapoor (resembling a breathing version of those rotund, turban-clad Seth dolls in the souvenir market) who runs a wedding business embodies the mechanical, mindless, money-minded side of celebration. The reliably keen Kapoor highlights the proceedings with his wonderful bouts of exasperation, pragmatic pearls of wisdom while dealing with his own growing insecurity at going out of business.

    Sharma, who previously directed Band Baaja Baarat and Ladies Versus Ricky Bahl, shows admirable restraint in spelling out the distinction or the generally nonconformist (by Bollywood standards) lifestyle/outlook of his characters in unusual professions.

    After a dynamic debut in Kai Po Che!, Rajput channelises his abundant energy to convey the childlike ineptitude of a man who wears his heart on a sleeve.

    A radiant, coral/pearl ring clad Parineeti Chopra owns the scenes she features in by way of her effortless vulnerability and unaffected charm.

    Their fresh-faced co-star Vaani Kapoor does well for herself in perhaps the most tricky role of the three with her sharp composure and bright, quick-witted smile that is, on occasions, as incisive as Sahni’s words.

    Are romantic sensibilities so dispensable? Are live-in relationships really that simplistic? Shuddh Desi Romance doesn’t probe and goes a tad overboard with the mockery towards the end. But it sure points out at the pink elephant in our society.

    At its 141 minutes running time (editing by Namrata Rao), there’s never a dull moment in Sahni’s penetrating jibes and whimsical trifling, which strives to convey a simple but underrated philosophy in the most fun way possible — marry because you want to, not because you must.

    Rating: 3.5/5

  2. Avatar Author
    aryan 7 years ago

    Shuddh Desi Romance Movie Review by Komal Nahta

    Yash Raj Films’ Shuddh Desi Romance (UA) is about the commitment-phobic youth of modern India. Raghuram alias Raghu (Sushant Singh Rajput) is a tourist guide in Jaipur, who also doubles up as a paid guest (baraati) in marriages as and when wedding caterer Goyal (Rishi Kapoor) requests him to do so.

    Raghu is to be married to Taara (newfind Vaani Kapoor) but develops cold feet when he is going to the bride’s town along with baraatis in a bus. Accompanying Raghu is Goyal and some paid guests including the English-speaking Gayatri (Parineeti Chopra). Raghu strikes up a friendship with Gayatri and before reaching the destination, falls in love with her in spite of being told by her that she has had love affairs in the past. On the wedding day, Raghu ditches Taara and runs away.

    Soon, Raghu and Gayatri have a live-in relationship as she also falls in love with him. The two decide to get married and even as Raghu is once again wondering whether he is taking the right step, Gayatri ditches him and runs away from the marriage.

    Days pass. Suddenly, one day, Raghu meets Taara at the marriage of her brother, to attend which he has come as a paid guest. Sensing Raghu’s awkwardness, Taara makes the first move to meet him. The two are civil with each other and before long, they fall in love with one another. At yet another marriage, Raghu and Taara are shocked to meet Gayatri. So now, there are three of them thrown together with Raghu sandwiched between Gayatri and Taara.

    What happens thereafter? Do sparks fly between Raghu and Gayatri? Is Raghu willing to forgive Gayatri? Why had Gayatri run away on her wedding day? Do Gayatri and Taara confront each other? Are they hand -in-glove with one another? Does Raghu marry Gayatri or Taara or none of them?

    Jaideep Sahni’s story is very unusual and shows the youngsters as being fearful of commitment in matters of marriage. Their fickle-mindedness is underlined. The screenplay is too simplistic and relies heavily on coincidences. For instance, Raghu meets Taara after he has ditched her, by sheer coincidence; he also meets Gayatri after their breakup, by sheer chance. As coincidence would have it, the three come face to face so easily. Again, by sheer coincidence, Raghu and Gayatri are both so very commitment-phobic.

    While the youngsters would be able to identify with the fear of commitment in matters of marriage, there would be an entire older generation which would find the commitment phobia too difficult to digest.

    As far as the first half is concerned, the film entertains for a good part of it because the characters of Raghu and Gayatri are very refreshing and endearing. Also, the whole ambience of Rajasthani weddings and the angle of paid guests at weddings have been beautifully brought out. The light banter between Raghu and Gayatri as also the pearls of wisdom of caterer Goyal make for interesting viewing.

    The second half gets repetitive once Taara comes on the scene again. Her forgiving nature looks like a convenient twist as writer Jaideep Sahni has not been able to justify why she forgives Raghu so fast and so easily. The drama seems to meander once Gayatri re-emerges on the scene even as Raghu and Taara are trying to come closer to one another.

    The older generation would have a problem with the characters of both, Gayatri and Taara, because both the girls have been shown to be ready to sleep with Raghu at what appears to be the drop of a hat! Also, the older generation would find the story too far-fetched and often implausible. But these problems will not even appear as problems to a fairly large section of the city youth which this film targets. The climax may go well with the theme of the film but it will leave a section of the audience dissatisfied. Having said this, it must be added that the younger generation would not mind the climax and may, in fact, view it as a fine culmination for liberated minds.

    Jaideep Sahni’s dialogues are very earthy and laced with a lot of humour.

    Sushant Singh Rajput is wonderfully natural and endearing. He lives the character of Raghu and plays the commitment-phobic youngster with admirable ease. Young girls are bound to be bowled over by his charisma. Parineeti Chopra is also extraordinarily real. Her acting is effortless and she uses her expressions brilliantly to convey her emotions. Vaani Kapoor makes a confident debut in spite of her character being a bit sketchy and ill-defined. Rishi Kapoor is outstanding and leaves a mark every time he appears on the screen. Rajesh Sharma makes his presence felt in a small role as Mausaji. Tarun Vyas (as Gupta), Jasbir Jassi (as the paanwallah), Tripti Sharma (as the bride in the climax), Imitiaz Ahmed (as the electrician-boyfriend of the bride), Craig and Alex (as foreign tourists) and Bhuvan Arora, Amit Mahoday, Pratik Jaiswal and Anuj Pandit (all four as Raghu’s friends) are all effective in their roles.

    Maneesh Sharma’s direction does justice to the bold script. His narrative style, like the script, will appeal to the youth. Sachin-Jigar’s music is good. ‘Tere mere beech mein’, ‘Gulabi’, ‘Ati random’, the title track and a couple of other songs are appealing. Jaideep Sahni’s lyrics are wonderful. Song picturisations (by Brinda and Ganesh Acharya) are appropriate. Background music (by Sachin-Jigar) is very nice. Manu Anand’s cinematography is lovely, capturing the essence of Rajasthan locales beautifully. Rashmi Sethi’s sets and settings are authentic. Namrata Rao’s editing is sharp.

    On the whole, Shuddh Desi Romance will meet with a mixed response. While the youth and the city audience will enjoy the unusual drama, the more orthodox and small-town audience will find it too different and bold for their liking. In commercial terms, the moderately-priced film will prove to be a comfortable earner on the strength of the youth patronage and business in the cities and multiplexes.

  3. Avatar
    sputnik 7 years ago

    Shuddh Desi Romance Movie Review by Rajeev Masand

    Rating: 3.5

    September 06, 2013

    Cast: Sushant Singh Rajput, Parineeti Chopra, Vaani Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor, Rajesh Sharma

    Director: Maneesh Sharma

    For years Hindi movies have drilled the same conservative, and often regressive notions of love and marriage into our heads. Shuddh Desi Romance takes that conventional wisdom propagated to us in the movies and turns it on its head. What’s worth noting is that this movie comes from the stable of Yash Raj Films, the very studio largely responsible for breeding those notions through hits like Chandni, Dil To Pagal Hai and Bachna Ae Haseeno among others.

    Directed by Band Baaja Baraat’s Maneesh Sharma and written by Chak De India’s Jaideep Sahni, Shuddh Desi Romance is set amidst the bustle of middle-class Jaipur, where unemployed youngsters will happily pose as friends and cousins in a traveling baraat for a few thousand rupees and a gold chain. When he isn’t conning white tourists into buying handicrafts from local merchants for a commission, Raghu (Sushant Singh Rajput) is busy falling in love. But he goes from sincere to conflicted to selfish in as long as it takes most people to change out of a wedding suit. So he’ll woo a girl, win her heart, then develop cold feet at the mandap. This happens thrice in Shuddh Desi Romance, which would be tiring and largely predictable if it weren’t for Sahni’s crackling dialogue and the charming characters he puts on screen. Gayatri (Parineeti Chopra) is a gregarious rebel Raghu meets on the way to his own wedding. She smokes, she’s had boyfriends, and she lets Raghu move in with her when he ditches his shaadi. Tara (newcomer Vaani Kapoor) is the damsel who springs a surprise on both Raghu and the audience.

    Like most normal couples – hence, unlike the relationships we see in Hindi movies – sexual attraction is key to our protagonists’ equation, and the film doesn’t make a big deal about it. In fact, to give credit where it’s due, Sahni’s script never screams from the rooftops about the brave ideas it pushes so matter-of-factly. Skillfully avoiding melodrama or sloganeering, the film portrays a generation where single women can live in with their boyfriends without being banished by the housing society. This is a refreshingly real middle-class India where marriage needn’t be life’s sole ambition for young girls, and where women can hold their heads high and carry on with life despite having been ditched at the altar.

    There’s so much to like about Shuddh Desi Romance, including Sharma’s nicely textured portrait of the Pink City. The film captures the sights and sounds of a busy metro in ways that most films don’t even try. Oblivious that he’s ruined someone’s appetite, a cook at a jalebi stall scratches his backside with a chhanni. It’s little details like these that sparkle with originality.

    Pity then that the movie runs out of steam in its unconvincing final act, particularly during a confrontation between the two leading ladies that comes off as contrived. In other complaints, the talking-into-camera device is now overused, and seldom works unless what’s being said is profound, which isn’t always the case here. This in fact, adds to the film’s already verbose and occasionally repetitive feel.

    What cannot be faulted, however, are the terrific performances from the central players. Vaani Kapoor makes an auspicious debut, carrying off Sahni’s firecracker lines with the comfort of a pro. Sushant Singh Rajput as Raghu, has an easy charm about him and unmistakable depth behind that scruffy exterior. But it’s Parineeti Chopra, reminiscent of a younger Rani Mukherjee, who this film belongs to. She has expressive eyes and an endearing manner about her, and turns Gayatri into the most real woman you’ve encountered on screen recently. The film also benefits enormously from the casting of an excellent Rishi Kapoor in the part of a feisty wedding caterer and Raghu’s father figure.

    To a large extent, Shuddh Desi Romance reinvents the wheel as far as Bollywood rom-coms go. It’s aggressively non-formulaic, and gives us characters who refuse to conform. The minor hiccups notwithstanding, this is a charming little film. I’m going with three-and-a-half out of five. You’ll enjoy it.


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