By Aparna Mudi
Farhan Akhtar, Vidya Balan and Saket Chaudhary – this is a combination that is difficult to go wrong with. But somehow, the feeling one gets after watching `Shaadi ke Side Effects` is that even the best combinations can falter.
On the positive side, the first half of the movie is refreshing, despite its predictability. Farhan has proven in the last few years that he is here to stay. This movie is no different, the comic timing that he showed in `Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara` is revisited with `Shaadi...`. The subtle changes in his expressions -- exasperation, fear, real affection – are all very well captured. Vidya, of course, is a natural.
However, this edition of 'Side Effects' is riddled with clichés, which is disappointing given the freshness of the original ‘Pyaar Ke Side Effects’.
Farhan and Vidya are Sidharth and Trisha Roy, a happily married couple living in the modern Indian double-income-no-kids urban home. Sidharth, an aspiring music composer, tries to make the relationship work with white lies and some `inspirational` advice for married couples. However things change with the coming of their first child, Mini. The movie is about how Farhan tries to manoeuvre around the changed relationship at hand. Sidharth`s tolerance is tested, with Trisha increasingly shifting her focus to the child.
Just as `Pyaar Ke Side Effects` was an objective look at the urban relationship, `Shaadi..` takes a look at the urban marriage. However, this movie will make you believe that marriage equals baby; and ideally it should have been called "Baap Banne Ke Side Effects". The entire movie is based on what having a child did to the husband and not the wife.
Sidharth is in a real pickle adjusting to fatherhood, and a lot of laughs are generated by depicting the lengths a family has to go through to adapt to parenting.
You really start sympathising with Sidharth`s situation. Even though individually Farhan and Vidya give good performances, the chemistry is somewhat lacking. Vir Das, as Manav, is badly used and appears to be just a filler with no real contribution to the plot. Ram Kapoor`s character is well etched out, while Ila Arun and Purab Kohli have short but interesting roles.
The first half is all you can expect from a rom-com -- it is funny, quirky, goes at an even pace and mirrors modern marriages somewhat successfully. But the humour fizzles out after that. The movie begins to drag and loses the promise it shows early on. There are times where the movie almost falls into melodrama. The introduction of additional characters in the second half makes an already stretched plot worse, testing the viewers’ patience.
The music by Pritam is peppy. `Harry’s Not a Brahmachari` by Jazzy B and Divya Kumar is a good dance number, sure to be popular in clubs this season. `Bawla Sa Sapna` by Mohit Chauhan is soulful.
If only the makers could have thought up a better second half, this could have been a winner. While still watchable due to the novelty of Farhan and Vidya pairing up, and the everyman status of Farhan`s character that everyone can relate to, it fails to live up to the cult status that Saket Chaudhary achieved with `Pyaar ke...`.