‘Shuddh Desi Romance’ review: Soulful, witty but wanes in the end!

Resham Sengar

There are stories galore of runaway brides. Every nook and cranny of the country has a tale to tell about last moment deserters of such kind who leave their grooms waiting in the mandap. But have you ever heard of runaway grooms? Probably not. No, he is not being forced into the marriage, nor is the bride big, fat or ugly. She is smart, picture perfect and virtuous. And most importantly, she is chosen by our groom. But this ‘Shuddh Desi Confusion’ gives birth to the story of ‘Shuddh Desi Romance’, Maneesh Sharma’s directorial venture.

Well to take it further, we have Raghu Ram (Sushant Singh Rajput), who is a certified tourist guide cum part time store salesman. Occasionally, he works for Tauji’s (Rishi Kapoor) agency that takes care of wedding preparations and even renders services of (fake) baraatis to any wedding party. On his way to his own wedding, Raghu encounters Gayatri (Parineeti Chopra), who is on board the wedding party as Raghu’s (hired) sister. Her persona immediately attracts the flippant lover Raghu, thereby giving birth to their ‘Shuddh Desi Romance’ with lightening speed. Raghu ditches his beautiful bride, Tara (debutant Vaani Kapoor) and comes to live-in with Gayatri in Jaipur. The neatly done scenes and commendable portrayal of their respective roles by Parineeti and Sushant give depth to the projection of modern day city romances. The lovers’ tiff, lust, love, and confusion on hot topics like marriage and commitment are shown nicely here. Adding more spice to the picture is Tauji’s character that is sensible, funny, mature, and every bit entertaining. But wait. The jilted bride Tara is not out of the picture for good as yet. So watch out for some more drama and of course, romance as the story moves on.

Maneesh Sharma’s film flirts with the theme of marriages as well as the mindset of today’s youth. But a tacky climax and a complex web of confused emotions woven around Raghu and Gayatri’s ‘love’ (or lack thereof) makes the audience lose sync with the story in the second half. It is difficult to understand after a point of time why Raghu is so hell confused between the two leading ladies of the film and it gets unnerving Gayatri and Raghu’s unexplained, non-committal attitude towards each other.

Thankfully, the actors have done their job well. Both Parineeti and Sushant have displayed the tiny nuances of their characters with finesse and boldness. Debutant Vaani Kapoor’s pretty visage is a breath of fresh air in the film. But even more likeable is the confidence she exudes on screen. She makes it hard to say that this is her first film. So Bollywood here has another long runner on the block. One gripe we have is that her character is made to do things that a sensible character like her would never be expected to do in those circumstances. Here we are indicating towards her association with the man who abandons her.
The music album of the film boasts of some really melodious tracks except the ‘Tere mere beech mein’ number. ‘Gulaabi’ stands out among the rest of the lot as it makes one feel sit back relaxed with eyes closed and paint a pretty pink picture with its beautiful music. On the other hand, the title number will perk up your mood on any dull day.

By the way, did we mention that director of photography Manu Anand has presented Jaipur so beautifully in most of the frames of the movie that you will feel visiting the pink city for a holiday this season?

Although not as good as ‘Band Baaja Baarat’ and ‘Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl’, Maneesh Sharma’s third directorial venture is jhataak, peppy and colourful but still turns out only to be a onetime watch!

Rating: 2.5 stars

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