Opening this week

Film review: Only the title is magnificent in ‘Shaandaar’

Vikas Bahl’s wedding-themed comedy, starring Shahid Kapoor and Alia Bhatt, is too wrapped up in itself to connect.

Vikas Bahl’s hopefully titled new movie is about as tidy as a jigsaw put together by an attention-deficit child: some bits fit together while others don’t, and the whole thing has patches of colour and brightness but an overall messy appearance.

Some of the unruliness is presumably deliberate and a result of the have-cake-will-also-eat approach that marked Queen, the filmmaker’s big hit from 2014. Queen was a formulaic coming-of-age story that coated its populist elements – song and dance sequences, slapstick comedy, identifiable middle-class characters – with the honesty and emotional heft that is usually found in indie productions.

The wedding-themed Shaandaar also tries to tie a knot between indie sensibilities and Bollywood compulsions. Bahl and co-writer Chaitally Parmar present a grand wedding cake and then proceed to lather it all over the faces of their guests. Shaandaar is supposed to be a wicked, sly, irreverent and subversive stoner comedy that celebrates as well as sends up wedding movies, but like the characters who get intoxicated on a combination of actual brownies and actual mushrooms, it suffers from a literal-minded and often infantile treatment. The dialogue has the welcome quality of casual banter, and Bahl creates an improvisational feel in several sequences, But he also makes ill-judged stabs at magic realism. The opening sequence, a clunky animation sequence fit for a children’s cartoon network show, sends out an early warning sign that this fairy tale doesn’t ever want to grow up.

The plot revolves around the nuptials between a Punjabi bride and a Sindhi groom, which is being held in one of those English castles that probably hosted nobility in the past and now has to suffer the ignominy of serving as yet another location for a Bollywood destination wedding. The Arora clan’s matriarch (Sushma Seth) has decreed that her plump granddaughter Isha (Sanah Kapoor) will marry the permanently bare-chested Robin (Vikas Verma), the scion of a stereotypical bling-addicted Sindhi family. Not that the Aroras can be mistaken for classy. The wedding is actually a business deal, and Isha’s put-upon father Bipin (Pankaj Kapoor) has no choice but to go along with the arrangement.

Bipin has another daughter Alia (Alia Bhatt), a foundling he adopted many years ago, but who never found favour with her grandmother or foster mother. Shed no tears for Alia, since she has been modelled on air-headed and plastic characters played by Zooey Deschanel and Kirsten Dunst in Hollywood and is therefore carefree, Bohemian, and incapable of expressing real emotions.

Alia’s reaction to the truth about her parentage is telling. “This is so cool! I’m illegitimate. It’s better than being adopted!” she exults. Quite.

One big in-joke

The real contest is between Bipin and wedding organiser Jagjinder (Shahid Kapoor), who has fallen for Alia, and the frequent verbal jousts between the real-life father and son add sparkle to otherwise shopworn material. U-rated flickers of desire also fly between Jagjinder and Alia, but although he catches her skinny-dipping and they bond over their common problem of insomnia, their romance is about as controversial as a blank sheet of paper.

The 146-minute movie proceeds in a jerky and slapdash fashion, and only a few sequences hit the mark. Most of the comedy seems to be in the form of one big private joke that does not travel beyond the borders of the set. In a meta sequence featuring one of Shaandaar’s producers, Karan Johar appears as a guest at a pre-wedding ceremony who conducts a mock conversation between Isha and Robin. The “Mehndi with Karan” sequence is supposed to send up Johar’s popular television chat show Koffee with Karan as well as his own grandiloquent movies. A clever idea but clumsily handled, like so much else in Shaandaar.



We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Advice from an ex-robber on how to keep your home safe

Tips on a more hands-on approach of keeping your house secure.

Home, a space that is entirely ours, holds together our entire world. Where our children grow-up, parents grow old and we collect a lifetime of memories, home is a feeling as much as it’s a place. So, what do you do when your home is eyed by miscreants who prowl the neighbourhood night and day, plotting to break in? Here are a few pre-emptive measures you can take to make your home safe from burglars:

1. Get inside the mind of a burglar

Before I break the lock of a home, first I bolt the doors of the neighbouring homes. So that, even if someone hears some noise, they can’t come to help.

— Som Pashar, committed nearly 100 robberies.

Burglars study the neighbourhood to keep a check on the ins and outs of residents and target homes that can be easily accessed. Understanding how the mind of a burglar works might give insights that can be used to ward off such danger. For instance, burglars judge a house by its front doors. A house with a sturdy door, secured by an alarm system or an intimidating lock, doesn’t end up on the burglar’s target list. Upgrade the locks on your doors to the latest technology to leave a strong impression.

Here are the videos of 3 reformed robbers talking about their modus operandi and what discouraged them from robbing a house, to give you some ideas on reinforcing your home.

Play
Play
Play

2. Survey your house from inside out to scout out weaknesses

Whether it’s a dodgy back door, a misaligned window in your parent’s room or the easily accessible balcony of your kid’s room, identify signs of weakness in your home and fix them. Any sign of neglect can give burglars the idea that the house can be easily robbed because of lax internal security.

3. Think like Kevin McCallister from Home Alone

You don’t need to plant intricate booby traps like the ones in the Home Alone movies, but try to stay one step ahead of thieves. Keep your car keys on your bed-stand in the night so that you can activate the car alarm in case of unwanted visitors. When out on a vacation, convince the burglars that the house is not empty by using smart light bulbs that can be remotely controlled and switched on at night. Make sure that your newspapers don’t pile up in front of the main-door (a clear indication that the house is empty).

4. Protect your home from the outside

Collaborate with your neighbours to increase the lighting around your house and on the street – a well-lit neighbourhood makes it difficult for burglars to get-away, deterring them from targeting the area. Make sure that the police verification of your hired help is done and that he/she is trustworthy.

While many of us take home security for granted, it’s important to be proactive to eliminate even the slight chance of a robbery. As the above videos show, robbers come up with ingenious ways to break in to homes. So, take their advice and invest in a good set of locks to protect your doors. Godrej Locks offer a range of innovative locks that are un-pickable and un-duplicable. To secure your house, see here.

The article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Godrej Locks and not by the Scroll editorial team.