Love Aaj Kal, I Hate Luv Storys, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani " the success of these films about commitment-phobic or confused youngsters on a rollercoaster of romantic indecision resulted in the theme being done to death for almost a decade, until Bollywood finally, thankfully, buried it a couple of years back.
The creators of Ginny Weds Sunny were perhaps not invited to the funeral, which might explain why they made this film.
Yami Gautam stars in director Puneet Khanna's Ginny Weds Sunny as Princess Simran Juneja aka Ginny, an insurance professional in Delhi who keeps hanging out with her ex-boyfriend Nishant Rathee (Suhail Nayyar). She wants marriage, he does not, they break up for the nth time but he cannot let go of her, and their lingering, undefined relationship makes it hard for her to emotionally move on.
Her former schoolmate Satnam Sethi aka Sunny (Vikrant Massey) hopes to open a restaurant someday. His father has agreed to finance it on condition that he marry first, because Dad feels " for no ostensible reason " that marriage will din some sense into his son's head, although there is no evidence elsewhere in the narrative to suggest that the young man is deficient in that department or that the Dad genuinely thinks he does. This contrivance kicks off the plot. Finding a woman to commit to him has always been tough for Sunny " this is another contrivance conjured up to propel the plot forward, one that we are expected to accept though he is a cute-looking, good-hearted guy and nothing explains his bad luck with women apart from the unattractiveness of his desperation to fulfil his Dad's condition, namely, Contrivance No 1. Soon Sunny sets off in pursuit of his long-time crush, Ginny, with help from her mother who is a marriage broker.
Ginny grows to like Sunny but is confused since Nishant remains in her peripheral vision. The many maybes and maybe nots among the three form the crux of the story.
For the record, Ginny does not belong to a royal family " the "Princess" in her official name is just one of several giggles the film has at the expense of Punjabis. So okay, the name is silly, funny and believable, and we get to attend the wedding of a Jonty with a Rimpi, but those are easy laughs, soon enough the humour dissipates, and gradually it becomes obvious that Ginny Weds Sunny has little to say that is new nor a new way to say it.
There is potential in a tale of how the dying embers of one relationship could affect a fresh one with promise or in Ginny's mother's conviction that love is an acquired habit, but writers Navjot Gulati and Sumit Arora do not explore these ideas with any depth. Sunny was always drawn to Ginny, and whatever his positive attributes may be, she was not, so it is unclear why she finally falls for him apart from the fact that he stuck around (c'mon, this is hardly a spoiler " the title says it all). At one point she angrily tells Nishant, "I don't constantly require a man in my life," yet it does seem like Sunny wins her heart simply because he happens to be wooing her when she is not with someone else. So is that it? Is she acquiring one habit as soon as she loses another? Can't tell.
This is a pity particularly since this cast is capable of so much. Gautam has been solid in her films so far and was hilarious in Bala last year. Massey was a dear in A Death In The Gunj and hot in Chhapaak. Quite unusually for a film from this male-dominated industry, her name " rightfully " is first in the credits, and the screenplay never veers away from the path of being equally his and her story. A thumbs up to the team for that.
The lead couple are sweet together and the main reason why Ginny Weds Sunny is not a complete write-off. But even the best actors cannot sustain sparks in the face of superficiality and a tired theme.
Ayesha Raza Mishra (credited here as Ayesha Raza) plays Ginny's mother and Rajiv Gupta (his name spelt differently in the opening and closing credits) is in the role of Sunny's father. These are actors who are capable of brilliance, and as it happens their first scene together here is proof of their excellent comic timing. Beyond a point though, they too are constrained by the limited material they are working with.
Just to be clear, until the boring last half hour, Ginny Weds Sunny is unoriginal and shallow but kind of pleasant.
The soundtrack is like the overall narrative " pleasant without being novel or profound. 'LOL' is hummable, 'Rubaru' is nice, but a lack of imagination rears its head via the resurrection of the Punjabi pop hit 'Sawan Mein Lag Gayi Aag' with which Mika first earned the spotlight in the 1990s and which has been remixed by Bollywood earlier too. The best number on the track is 'Phoonk Phoonk' although it too revisits a portion of an old Punjabi number, 'Kaala Shah Kaala.'
DoP Nuthan Nagaraj has an interesting take on Delhi as seen from up above and the scenery when Ginny and Sunny travel out of town.
The other person who delivers consistent quality throughout is Amandeep Kaur who is in charge of the heroine's costumes and gives her a distinctive personal style.
Unlike Ginny's pretty wardrobe, there is nothing distinctive about Ginny Weds Sunny.
(Footnote: Netflix's subtitles are usually quite good, so I wonder why in Ginny Weds Sunny, "Bachelor's in Commerce" in a conversation appeared as "Bachelor in Business" in the subs, "samaaj sevak" (social worker) was translated as "union leader" or basic proofreading errors " "gurudwa" instead of "gurudwara" and "instructios" instead of "instructions" " slipped through.)
Ginny Weds Sunny is streaming on Netflix India.
Rating: 1.75 stars