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Shuddh Desi Romance
DIRECTOR: Maneesh Sharma
CAST: Parineeti Chopra, Rishi Kapoor, Sushant Singh Rajput, Vaani Kapoor
RUNNING TIME: TBA
LIVE-in relationships are common in the West, but they raise eyebrows in India. They are often considered taboo and spoken about disapprovingly in orthodox inland towns as well as the metropoles.
Shuddh Desi Romance is, perhaps, the first Hindi film that looks at live-in relationships and premarital 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 was at the helm of the immensely likeable Band Baaja and appealing-in-parts Ladies vs Ricky Behl, tests uncharted waters 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, Sharma 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 on live-in relationships involving desi (traditional) characters and looks at the highs and lows that come with them.
Although audiences have, over the decades, witnessed innumerable interpretations of love and romance, Sharma and writer Jaideep Sahni make sure they don’t take a leaf out of been-there-seen-that situations.
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 that hasn’t been spoken before in Hindi films.
They are not rebellious, but straightforward. And that, in all honesty, is primarily what gives this film an edge.
Shuddh Desi Romance is the journey of three restless young people who junk society’s syllabus for finding love and decide to follow their hearts.
Raghu (Sushant Singh Rajput), a tour guide in Jaipur, wants love in his life. Gayatri (Parineeti Chopra), a part-time instructor at an English-speaking institute, has been around the block a few times and knows the scene, while Tara (Vaani Kapoor) is dying to get out there and fly, knows what’s right for her, but a little experimenting never hurt anybody, did it?
When their paths cross, their beliefs are challenged and their loves tested.
Sahni, who has penned films like Bunty Aur Babli, Chak De! India, Aaj Nachle and Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year for Raj, opts for a plot that’s a slice of life.
The characters in Shuddh Desi Romance mirror the mindset of youngsters in contemporary times and how the meaning of love and commitment has undergone a complete change.
The obstacles in the form of caste, religion and culture seem passé, frankly.
Dating, premarital sex and marriage are seen as three diverse issues, unlike before, when matrimony was the beautiful culmination of a relationship.
Armed with an unsullied plot and creative situations, director Sharma breaks away from the conventional thought process and paints a picture that challenges the mindset of conformists.
Also, everything that Sharma and Sahni attempt to convey through their characters in Shuddh Desi Romance looks credible and relevant.
The good thing is, there’s no preaching or sermonising 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 traditional beliefs. More significantly, all of this is presented in an entertaining format.
The only glitch in the other- wise 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 unrealistic. However, when all is said and done, the commit- ment-phobic attitude of the new generation comes across very well in the narrative.
Sachin-Jigar’s soundtrack garnishes the goings-on wonder- fully. The gifted composers, who have delivered musical hits before, live up to the faith in them.
Gulabi and the title track are infectious compositions.
The director of photography captures the rustic flavour with meticulousness.
After leaving a tremendous impression with 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 sponta- neous act.
Chopra gets into the zone yet again, in 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, as always, in terrific form. Rajesh Sharma is okay in a cameo. On the whole, Shuddh Desi Romance caters to the youth and reflects their mindset of 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 not just with the youngsters, but also with those who love shuddh (unchar- tered, in this case) storylines. Refreshingly different, give this one a chance. Recommended! – bollywoodhungama.com