What happens when commitment-phobic people fall in love? Shuddh Desi Romance tries to find an answer in this quirky take on contemporary relationships. How today’s youngsters try to follow their hearts while being tied to the conventions and hypocrisies of small town India.
Raghu (Sushant Singh Rajput) ditches his bride Tara (Vaani Kapoor) at the altar when he falls in love at first sight with Gayatri (Parineeti Chopra) on the eve of his wedding. He pursues Gayatri till she reciprocates his feelings. Their relationship has everything going for it except Raghu’s discomfort with the men in Gayatri’s life before him, and Gayatri’s inability to completely trust a guy who ditched his bride minutes before the wedding. Does their inability to commit completely to each other cost them their relationship?
Shuddh Desi Romance revels in the ordinariness of its setting and characters. The look and feel of the film is real and earthy. This helps it take a wonderful start as we get introduced to our perpetually confused yet adorable protagonists. Their casual banter is refreshing even though the chemistry between them remains cold despite all the kisses and lovemaking scenes. However, one hour into the film you realise that the casual was fast slipping into the superficial.
The best thing about the film is that the characters talk to each other, as in hold real conversations which is a rarity in Hindi cinema. The bad thing is that they talk too much. The heart-to-heart talks that seem so refreshing at first, soon turn repetitive and tedious. After a point of time you just wanted the characters to shut up and get on with their plans. Unfortunately, even the plans kept repeating themselves. So much repetition in a film just a little above two hours shows bad writing. That this came from the pen of the very talented Jaideep Sahni makes it even more heart-breaking.
Director Maneesh Sharma too shares the blame for overdoing everything – the conversations, the fears, the kisses. This problem seems to have seeped into the cinematography too. It is one thing to capture the energy of a city, quite another to over-capture it. The music doesn’t add much to the film but it doesn’t take away anything either.
What helps the film stay afloat mostly is Parineeti’s performance as the self-confident yet vulnerable Gayatri. She just brightens up every scene she appears in with her open face and uninhibited body language. So much so that Sushant appears dull in comparison. His is not a bad performance either but one that lacks the nuances that the role needed. Vaani makes a confident debut. Rishi Kapoor is fantastic as always. The rest of the supporting cast is uniformly good and adds to the small-town realism of the film.
Shuddh Desi Romance joins the long list of films that had a lot of potential but could not live up to it. A few nice scenes and witty dialogues don’t make a good film. In the end, it just left one feeling tired. Not what you expect from a frothy romcom.