Release Date: 22nd October 2015
Time: 144 minutes
Director, Writer: Vikas Bahl; Co-Writers: Chaitally Parmar, Anvita Dutt; Music: Amit Trivedi;
Starring: Shahid Kapur; Alia Bhatt; Pankaj Kapur; Sushma Seth, Sanah, Sanjay Kapoor, Vikas Verma
This is a desperate attempt at cuteness
Frogs, an animation back story, dreams drawn on strips of paper, horses, damsels that need rescuing (or someone to make them sleep), glitzy sets, flying ladybugs, more abbreviations than in the Oxford dictionary, a cuddly kind of love, an unending supply of songs, Karan Johar, fireflies, Sindhi jokes rehashed, gold, a touching father-daughter relationship, imaginary cups of tea (with two cubes of sugar), fake moustaches and the gravelly voice of Naseeruddin Shah – everything is thrown at us in the vain hope that something sticks, something connects – anything to distract our attention from the fact that there is no story – and the only thing with real substance in the film is Sanah.
Add to this potpourri, a dominating matriarch (Sushma Seth) – who has decided that Sanah, her grand-daughter (born to her son, Pankaj) will get married to a golden, glitzy, garish Sindhi family (headed by Sanjay Kapoor) – a kind of a business deal to save them from impending bankruptcy. The fact that Sanjay’s brother, the groom, Vikas, is a gym / protein shake obsessed, a narcisstic idiot with eight (and a half) pack abs, and precious little else doesn’t make them think again. Nor does the fact that he so obviously doesn’t relish getting married to the slightly overweight but pretty, smart Sanah, make the entire clan even pause for thought.
Alia, meanwhile, is a poor, little, wee anath, brought home by Pankaj, against the wishes of his mom or his wife. Obviously, there is a predictable secret somewhere but no one really questions the otherwise jelly-in-front-of-his-mother Pankaj or dissuades him from doing so. Alia is an insomniac, reads a lot of books, is a trivia queen but like all good girls, is waiting for her prince to come and put her to sleep.
Enter Shahid. The wedding organizer in the rented mansion / hotel. Who also doubles up as lead dancer. He doesn’t hit it off with Pankaj. Does with Alia. And you can, pretty easily, fill in the rest of the blanks…
Alia and Sanah (Pankaj’s daughter in real life too) stole the show with their performances. Shahid and Pankaj tried just that teensy-weensy bit too hard. The rest hung around in the background for their two-bit parts
This was an attempt at a fairy story. A kind of a reverse Sleeping Beauty – where an insomniac prince is needed to make the insomniac princess fall asleep – and learn to dream. Will work for you if you’re under 12. Or like songs. And big fat Indian weddings (pun intended). Or sets with twinkling lights, heart shapes, and cuddly-wuddly stuff. But will stretch interminably and senselessly for all others. Vikas Bahl, after Queen, this Shaandaar failure? Et Tu?!