There are basically two aspects of films: entertainment (darn you say Vidya Balan) and experience (Ship of Theseus). While most films are meant to be devoured, derided, and digested as entertainment, few are savoured, favoured and revered as experiences that linger on throughout the week (Bhaag Milkha Bhaag), month (Ship of Theseus) and sometimes almost a year (Life of Pi) of watching it.
Shuddh Desi Romance shuffles between being entertainment and experience, in the same breath, just like its lead actor Sushant Singh Rajput (rising and shining) shuffles between the two ladies, Parineeti Chopra (new and improved) and Vaani Kapoor (flair and lovely). Some nuggets upgrade Shuddh Desi Romance m to ‘experience’ while few (mercifully) mandatory clichés brush it aside as just another entertainment fare. Nevertheless, Shuddh Desi Romance ensures a smile on your face throughout its running time.
Parineeti Chopra abandons her comfort zone of playing a loud-mouthed small town girl and turns her image on its head (despite being two-film old, Ladies v/s Ricky Bahl as Dimple Chaddha and Ishaqzaade as Zoya Qureshi). There’s a scene where she shares her insecurity with Sushant’s character and asks him to touch her pulse. This single scene is enough to entrench her as an actress to watch out for.
Actor Sushant Singh Rajput gets to showcase his versatility. Notice the way he reacts each time he is reprimanded by his ladies (which are many in this case), and you’ll know what I mean. The actor never tries to follow any set pattern when it comes to histrionics and nuances of acting. Sadly, the film’s screenplay does commit this crime, and punishably multiple times post-interval.
Debutant Vaani Kapoor’s role demands her to take the bull by its horn (or rather balls in this case) and she perfectly justifies it, emerging triumphant in a role which seems to end abruptly on false note. The cold drink that she is often shown gulping in the movie whenever she feels low soon fizzes out after a point of time, especially in the climax.
The only actor who keeps you engaged all across consistently is surely Rishi Kapoor. This veteran (pardon to make him sound old) of an actor is getting young with each film, be it positive (Do Dooni Chaar), negative (Agneepath, Aurangzeb, D-Day) or satirical (Chintuji, Luck By Chance). As a moustached Rajasthani wedding arranger (indulging in Daal-Baati and pouring shuddh desi ghee over it), Rishi Kapoor is perfection personified.
The only problem with the film is a pattern that it loyally follows, making each scene predictable. In fact, the real hero of this film is writer Jaideep Sahani (the guy who wrote masterpiece called Rocket Singh-Salesman of the year and Chakh De! India). Director Maneesh Sharma now seems to be a pro, when it comes to the wedding scenes. While his previous film had the gem of a line, ‘Kadcha-tod khaana banaata hai’, this time the kadcha shifts backside and you just can’t stop raving about the nuanced direction and writing of Shuddh Desi Romance. Nonetheless, it’s the writing that will keep you glued to your seats rather than the story which resorts to bathroom whenever the pressure builds up.
The only song that stands out is surely ‘Tere mere beech mein kya hai’ (chaddar khaddar ki, armaan hai resham ke underlines the small town dreams of the two lead characters). Cinematographer Manu Anand maintains a restraint in capturing Jaipur(even the popular 27 kisses) and avoids decking things up, except for the song, Gulaabi where he literally paints the city pink. Namrata Rao edits the earthiness of Shuddh Desi Romance with such finesse that you tend to forsake your smart phone and later realize that haven’t updated your status since two odd hours. Well, I have finally updated mine.