Shekhar S Jha’s Wedding Anniversary is a throwback to the worst of 1970s films, the ones in which characters delivered themselves of soliloquies and metaphysical treatises that were meant to impress audiences but ultimately bored them to tears.
Kahani (Mahie Gill) is waiting for her husband Nirbhay (Priyanshu Chatterjee) in her tackily appointed home somewhere in Goa on their wedding anniversary. His flight is delayed because he has been made a job offer he would be foolish to refuse. But rather than welcome the prospect of an enhanced income, Kahani pouts and shoves aside the Armani watch she intends to gift Nirbhay.
The doorbell rings and in walks Nagarjun, the writer of the novel that Kahani has been reading as she waits for Nirbhay. Over the next few hours, the older (and therefore wiser) man holds forth on love, relationships, marriage, womanhood and contemporary value systems. Nagarjun’s gnomic observations range from the would-be sublime to the undeniably ludicrous. Nobody is a virgin – it rains when clouds flirt with each other, he earnestly declares in a moment that is not intended to be funny.
Nagarjun is the kind of man many women will find familiar – the kind who accosts you at a party or in your workplace and grasps your palms while quoting Urdu poetry. Kahani wanders through Nagarjun’s thicket of mansplaining in a gee-whiz haze, never once stopping to question him.
The idea of a novelist doubling up as a life coach and muse is better suited to the stage than the big screen. Though a play would have been just as deeply pretentious, it might at least have addressed Jha’s inability to enliven what is essentially a two-hander. Patekar equates grinning with charm, while Gill struggles to make something out of Kahani’s shallowness.