Thursday, September 12, 2013

Shuddh Desi Cinema

I’m really excited and can’t stop raving about the new crop of filmmakers. If Maneesh Sharma’s Band Baja Baaraat had stunned you with its freshness in content as well as treatment, then the director’s latest offering, Shuddh Desi Romance has raised the bar a notch higher. The Delhi director has got back the magic of story telling after a small aberration called Ladies v Ricky Bahl.

First, the absolute positives...for a change the protagonist of a Hindi commercial cinema is actually dumbfounded when he’s around girls. He can’t rattle off witty lines to impress girls but Raghu Ram (Sushant Singh Rajput) does impress, in fact two of them. Sushant gets to romance two 'desi' girls who are 'videshi' in their ways. And they want to remain glued to him, so what if he ran away from the wedding pandal of Tara (Vaani Kapoor) in front of Gayatri (Parineeti Chopra). They both want him.

For an out an out commercial venture, the director has the three main leads talking to the camera in between scenes – on their take at that particular moment. But it would have been better if it could have related/revealed feelings, which were not so obvious.   

As far as performances go, all three of the main leads are outstanding. Maneesh has the ability to extract the best from his actors – remember Ranveer and Anushka’s power-packed acting in BBB. Parineeti has again not struck a single wrong note. Her role might not be very different from the I-care-a-damn bubbly girl-next-door, but you have to give it to her – she’s flawless as Gayatri.

Sushant’s a difficult one. Writer Jaideep Sahni of Khosla ka Ghosla and Chak de India fame has etched out two clearly defined and distinct female characters but Raghu Ram is full of contradictions. The way it is written and acted, is open to debate. He is a tour guide who, at best, is insecure and unsure; but manages to lure two smart and bold women into bed. From going as a hired baarati to running away from his own wedding – Sushant had a lot on his plate. He manages to portray all the contradictions of the character. Brilliant. Many might argue that the character could have been handled ‘differently’ but could never have been handled ‘better’. The other female lead Aussie import Vaani Kapoor also has not given any reason to complain.

In fact the heavy indulgence with lead players, did leave all the other characters looking like caricatures. Even Rishi Kapoor, playing a wedding planner, struggles to leave a mark, despite getting a meaty role – not to take away from his acting prowess.

Another big plus has been the way songs have been interspersed with the story telling. And the difficult task of shooting entire song sequences in one room has been overcome with brilliant shot division using jump cuts. But you wish that the love making scenes could have been more hurried and rough than the beautifully but measured one.  

If in BBB it was the brilliant usage of by lanes of crowded Delhi, , then SDR exploits the colour, mood and chaos of the Pink city to the hilt. 

The light-hearted, chaotic climax may not appeal to many but brings out our over-indulgence in the institution of marriage in a lighter vein. Not a very emotional or dramatic climax as the director lets you wear the objective lens to gaze at his cinema.

A truly outstanding effort! Gosh, we are living in good times!