Yahoo Movies Review: Shuddh Desi Romance

Rummana Ahmed

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

Direction: Maneesh Sharma

Rating: ***

Big fat Indian weddings make for a colourful backdrop and Bollywood loves using it to render its many love stories. Maneesh Sharma uses the same flashy canvas to mock the vibrant façade it manages to create.

Modern relationships are caught in transition - some are being redefined, traditional mindsets are being challenged, the man-woman equation has many new aspects to it. Societal pressure sometimes try to thwart this change, the expectation that everyone has to be happily married by a certain age puts immense pressure on individuals and their families and Indian weddings are sometimes used to veil the changing dynamics of relationships.

Maneesh Sharma tries to address the various nuances of love and commitment. He does raise some valid points but his treatment remains superfluous at best. It’s as if the filmmakers were scared to take a strong stand, afraid that it will ruffle the feathers of the gatekeepers of our conscientious Indian society and they would bar their young children from watching this movie. A section of the society is bound to feel that a film that makes no bones about pre-marital sex and live-in relationship is bound to have an adverse effect on the impressionable youth of this country. We did much rather live in denial than accept the very apparent changes.

‘Shuddh Desi Romance’ gives us some memorable characters and they remain with us long after we have walked out of the theatre.
Raghu (Sushant Singh Rajput) is quick to run away from his wedding, quick to fall in love soon after and quick to even recover from a heartbreak. We know so many men like that – confused, impulsive and irresponsible. Is his character flawed? Not really, merely unsure of what he really wants from life.

Raghu Ram follows his heart but when he realizes that it has misled him, he is ready to listen to his head instead and set right the mistake he made before. If the heart was wrong then the head has got to be right. A lot of modern marriages thus, end up being a decision of mind over heart.
Sushant’s character is the anti-thesis of the one he played in ‘Kai Po Che’. Raghu (Sushant) has no focus, he is charming and yet, annoying because he has no real personality.

Gayatri (Parineeti Chopra) is the cool babe; she smokes, is unabashed about her previous boyfriends and makes no big deal about her live-in partner. And yet, that’s only a front; she is as insecure in her relationship, as any other person. She is scared that the person she loves will judge her by her past. And she did rather run away from impending heartbreak than appear vulnerable.

Tara (Vaani Kapoor) is immensely likeable and creates quite an impression in her debut film. There is no high drama/melodrama accompanying her emotional trajectory. I especially love the look of pure pleasure on her face when she explains how revenge is immensely gratifying for the ego. She also makes a valid point – when you are flirting with someone who had previously dumped you, you are never sure whether you are enjoying the revenge more or whether you are actually slipping away again.

The thing is, the film forays into an unexplored grey area in most romantic relationships but it doesn’t really delve deeper. The protagonists never seem completely convinced about their feelings and may be that was intentional. How sure are we really of our emotions in a relationship? They tend to change over time. But then are modern relationships bereft of any kind of responsibility? Surely there has to be some accountability somewhere.

Also, there was much talk about the 27 kisses in the film but honestly, there wasn’t the chemical spark that you would expect from such a bold, young love story.
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