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www.newsindiatimes.com – that’s all you need to know News India Times November 24, 2017 24 Entertainment By Shilpa Jamkhandikar A ppearances are deceptive in “Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana” (Please Come to theWedding). In the begin- ning, our hero appears to be a likeable, if excitable, young man, consumed by the thought of marital bliss. But as the story progresses, he turns "full retard". So does the film. Ratnaa Sinha’s film starts off well enough, with an arranged marriage proposal between Satyendar (Rajkummar Rao) and Aarti (Kriti Kharbanda). He is about to start a job as a clerk, an enviable position in small town India where a government jobs holds the promise of security, respect and the potential to earn beyond your means through graft. To Aarti, a college topper who is being forced into marriage, Satyendar is an escape from her restrictive, domineering father. He loves her, gives her equal footing in the partnership and is even willing to let her work after marriage. Sinha gets the milieu, the regressive attitude towards women and their role as second-class citizens spot on. But on the day of the marriage, it all comes undone. The groom’s mother declares that she will not let Aarti work, which also happens to be the same day that the latter discovers she might be on the cusp of a great career. Pushed by her elder sister (Nayani Dixit), she runs away from her wedding and leaves Satyendar a broken, bitter man. Up until here, the film appears to be on its course, if a little rough around the edges. But post interval, we are subjected to a convoluted revenge saga that does no service to the story or characters. Five years later, Satyendar has transformed from a lowly clerk to a top government official who takes it upon himself to investigate graft allegations against his former fiancé. Aarti, reeling under the double shock of seeing the man she was to marry and the danger of losing her covet- ed government job, crumbles into a weeping mess. Satyendar acts sadomasochistic, while Aarti oscillates from simpering at him to accusing him of ruining her life. Sinhaa chooses to punctuate all this with deafening background music and pithy songs about heartbreak. It all seems too ludicrous. Rajkummar Rao tries his best to salvage the situation, humanising Satyendar for the most part; but even he cannot pull off the truly farcical parts of this film. Kharbanda falls short, but Govind Namdeo, Nayani Dixit and Manoj Pahwa put in strong supporting per- formances. Sinhaa had a chance to depict the many social ills that are legitimised in the name of marriage in India, and this film feels like an opportunity lost. -R EUTERS By Shilpa Jamkhandikar n “Qarib Qarib Singlle" (Almost single), Irrfan Khan plays a smart-talking, glib man who goes on a road trip across India. But unlike 2015’s “Piku”, this trip doesn’t seem to be as much fun. Khan plays Yogi, a middle-aged man with lots of time and money who signs up with a dating website. He meets Jaya (Parvathy), a widow whose friends egg her on to “get some action.” She lives alone and faces the same problems that any woman above 30 in India faces while looking for companionship – the stigma attached to being a widow and the lack of suitors. She and Yogi seem diametrically opposite – she is a South Indian, a working professional, and one who has strong ideas of right and wrong. He is a drifter with a dis- regard for rules and a ready repartee that often puts her off-guard. A love story between these two would have been interesting enough without inserting the travel bit into it, but director Tanuja Chandra and co-writer Gazal Dhaliwal are determined to take these two on what turns out to be a wild goose chase. An off-hand remark about Yogi’s ex-lovers turns into a plan for a road trip to go and meet all of them, and Jaya finds herself tagging along. As they meet the women who made up Yogi’s romantic past, Jaya finds herself inexpli- cably drawn to this strange, whimsical man. But Chandra loads her narrative with too many things - Jaya’s unre- solved issues with her friends, Yogi’s half-baked romances - and all of them do nothing to enhance the story. For what it’s worth, the beginning of a relationship between two people in their late 30s in India is a film waiting to be made, but Chandra lost focus. Luckily for Chandra, her lead performers are power- houses who can make even middling screenplays look good. Irrfan Khan seems to be having the most fun – he gets the best lines and takes great relish in serving them out. Parvathy as the woman struggling to give love a sec- ond chance is the star of the film – she’s expressive, vul- nerable at all the right moments, and just the perfect amount of ditzy. If only Chandra had focused on her two strongest characters and left out the rest, we’d have a winner on our hands. -R EUTERS 'Qarib Qarib Singlle' Could Have Been AWinner I Reuters Reuters 'Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana' Misses Opportunity To Depict Many Social Ills

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