Movie review: Shuddh Desi Romance

Shuddh Desi Romance

Cast: Sushant Singh Rajput, Parineeti Chopra, Vaani Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor

Direction: Maneesh Sharma

Rating: 4 Star Rating: Recommended4 Star Rating: Recommended4 Star Rating: Recommended  

We are on with romancing smalltown India lately, far from the maddening exotica of Swiss Alps. Shuddh Desi Romance, coming in the wake of Raanjhanaa earlier this year, takes the Bollywood love story right into the heartland bylanes, its colourful bazaars, middle-class homes and their toilets (yes, toilets play a wittily imaginative role in the progress of this plot).

It is a smalltown backdrop we are all familiar with, and it comes with characters we have definitely met.

Maneesh Sharma’s latest is more than a feel-good romance though, and the makeover it marks for the mush formula extends beyond a cosmetic change in locale. The film is a fascinating sketch tracking the mindset of today’s youth. It talks of a generation that understands love, values commitment but is often found struggling in a domain somewhere in between.

Jaideep Sahni’s choice to set his script in smalltown Jaipur renders novelty. This is a youth base that faces culture clash more acutely than the big city does. Tradition’s collision with a rapidly changing belief system makes for interesting drama. Shuddh Desi Romance wholly draws advantage from the idea.

Sahni’s writing is known to celebrate stark realism without making it seem too heavy (recall Khosla Ka Ghosla, Chak De! India or Rocket Singh: Salesman Of The Year). It is a quality that gives him a unique place in Bollywood, among writers who are mostly either too spectacular or too sombre. Shuddh Desi Romance only reiterates Sahni’s USP. Essentially, this is a rare Hindi film where the writer is as noteworthy as its director, even star cast.

Sushant Singh Rajput is cast as Raghu, happy-go-lucky tourist guide in Jaipur and a big reason you will love this film. Raghu meets the feisty Gayatri (Parineeti Chopra) on his way to wed Tara (Vaani Kapoor). Gayatri is a baaraati, and her one-night interaction with Raghu in the baaraat bus gives him the pre-shaadi jitters. He runs away from his marriage.

Twist in the tale comes when, after a brief live-in romance, Raghu and Gayatri are set to marry but this time it is she who runs away from the mandap.

Raghu, Tara and Gayatri’s paths will cross of course, for an interesting finale.

Gayatri is as peppy as Parineeti normally gets. You still spot the odd slant at over-the-top acting but by and large Parineeti is a pleasant watch. Newcomer Vaani Kapoor does impressively to match up to her fine co-stars. There is a wild child streak inherent in Tara and Vaani gets the nuances right. Rishi Kapoor’s cameo as the adorable Goel saab, wedding planner/caterer and Raghu’s father figure rolled in one, is a delectable value-add to the film.

Quite apt that an effort that strives to reorganise the Bollywood romance should be produced by Yash Raj Films. Shuddh Desi Romance isn’t making any drastic bid to change the filmy concept of love. It is still operating with all that has ever worked for the genre. Only, desi mush gets rid of its designer bursts and comes alive with shuddh honesty this time


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