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.



Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Get ready for an 80-hour shopping marathon

Here are some tips that’ll help you take the lead.

Starting 16th July at 4:00pm, Flipkart will be hosting its Big Shopping Days sale over 3 days (till 19th July). This mega online shopping event is just what a sale should be, promising not just the best discounts but also buying options such as no cost EMIs, buyback guarantee and product exchanges. A shopping festival this big, packed with deals that you can’t get yourself to refuse, can get overwhelming. So don’t worry, we’re here to tell you why Big Shopping Days is the only sale you need, with these helpful hints and highlights.

Samsung Galaxy On Nxt (64 GB)

A host of entertainment options, latest security features and a 13 MP rear camera that has mastered light come packed in sleek metal unibody. The sale offers an almost 40% discount on the price. Moreover, there is a buyback guarantee which is part of the deal.

Original price: Rs. 17,900

Big Shopping Days price: Rs. 10,900

Samsung 32 inches HD Ready LED TV

Another blockbuster deal in the sale catalogue is this audio and visual delight. Apart from a discount of 41%, the deal promises no-cost EMIs up to 12 months.

Original price: Rs. 28,890

Big Shopping Days price: Rs. 10,900

Intel Core I3 equipped laptops

These laptops will make a thoughtful college send-off gift or any gift for that matter. Since the festive season is around the corner, you might want to make use of this sale to bring your A-game to family festivities.

Original price: Rs. 25,590

Big Shopping Days price: Rs. 21,900

Fashion

If you’ve been planning a mid-year wardrobe refresh, Flipkart’s got you covered. The Big Shopping Days offer 50% to 80% discount on men’s clothing. You can pick from a host of top brands including Adidas and Wrangler.

With more sale hours, Flipkart’s Big Shopping Days sale ensures we can spend more time perusing and purchasing these deals. Apart from the above-mentioned products, you can expect up to 80% discount across categories including mobiles, appliances, electronics, fashion, beauty, home and furniture.

Features like blockbuster deals that are refreshed every 8 hours along with a price crash, rush hour deals from 4-6 PM on the starting day and first-time product discounts makes this a shopping experience that will have you exclaiming “Sale ho to aisi! (warna na ho)”

Set your reminders and mark your calendar, Flipkart’s Big Shopping Days starts 16th July, 4 PM and end on 19th July. To participate in 80 hours of shopping madness, click here.

Play

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Flipkart and not by the Scroll editorial team.