Free Press Journal

Movie Review: Shaandaar – That Big Fat wedding Blunder!


Cast: Shahid Kapoor, Pankaj Kapur, Sushma Seth, Sanjay Kapoor, AliaBhatt, Sanah Kapur

Director: Vikas Bahl

Rating: * *

Runtime: 135 mins

‘Chillar party’ was cute and imminently likeable while the heart-warming ‘Queen’ gave him high-praise and rewards aplenty- so instead of going for staple Bollywoodianfantasy, ideally, Director Vikas Bahl , should have been working hard at achieving a more realistic aesthetic in his next. But ‘Shaandaar’ beats all your expectations black and blue. A horrendous, irredeemably exaggerated, fantasy laden mish-mash of the Rajshri type wedding video(possibly meant to be a homage), this attempt at monstrously-fat-wedding-celebrations movie is more of a nightmare than any reason for excitement.

And it hits you right in the space between your eyes from the first frame itself. Soon after the credit titles we are treated to some scrappy ‘animated’ prologue with voice-over from Naseeruddin Shah, about the first born of an Industrialist family, Bipin(the animated toon looks like Emraan Hashmi but we later learn that he is none other than Pankaj Kapur) walking home with a wee little orphan girl. His wheelchair bound mother(Sushma Seth) and wife are not amused.  He already has another daughter who later on develops a close bond with the newcomer. The orphan who gets adopted by Bipin grows up to become a waif-like insomniac, Alia(Alia Bhatt) while his own daughter Isha(Sanah Kapoor) binges into extra-large fittings for a trousseau specially designed for her by her  obviously Gay designer chachu. You guessed it. It’s the destination wedding(Scotland I think) of the century between the Shaandaars and the Fandwanis where Isha is weighed in as the gold that could merge the two troubled companies into one unsinkable enterprise. Unfortunately, the holes in the two ships are so wide that not even Isha’s extra large size can seal up the deficit.

The blatantly and in-your-face Sindhi Fandwani’s led by their Scion (Sanjay Kapoor)check-in at the ceremonies dressed and accessorized in Gold. The bridegroom is a dull-headed beef-cake more interested in his abs and a good time than in serving himself up as bait for a fate that might just leave him crippled for life. But sadly, for him there’s no empathy here. Vikas Bahl attempts to summon up all sympathies for insomniacs and heavy-weights. And Alia and Isha get to share the cake equally. While there’s playful romance budding between Alia and roguish Wedding organizer, fellow insomniac, Jagjinder Joginder(Shahid Kapoor), there’s trouble brewing on the signed and sealed deal of the century. Isha is willing to get sacrificed for the greater good of the family as demanded by the Matriarch(Sushma Seth) but the beefcake is not willing to hold his horses while being ridiculed into submission. As part of wedding ceremonies there’s also a mehndi with Karan Johar replete with hamper prizes – yes, KJo gets the couples into a buzzer round where the fault-lines get established.

Ostentatious, grand, over-the-top festivities lead to tame withdrawal symptoms. The dramatics are extremely flaky. The characters more toon-like than real. It’s tough to get involved in this ballooning-out-of-control gasbag of a misadventure. The music is peppy and youthful, Alia shines bright with insouciance, Shahid makes the right kind of moves and newcomer Sanah does a likeable Bhumi Pednekar but it’s clearly not enough to get you involved. The animation is quite pedestrian and the magic realism effects don’t have any affect to speak of. The entire format of story-telling employed here appears to have come out of poorly thought out creatives. It probably took some doing getting FoxStar Studios and Dharma to bankroll this monstrosity. While the production values are heavy-duty the content is extra lite. It’s meant to be playful and comedic but what comes across is sheer bedlam and tedium. The faulty fantasy collapses on the weight of it’s contradictions much before the half-way mark. Thereafter it’s a herculean struggle to stay afloat( more so for the viewer). Vikas Bahl has probably gotten himself into a sinkhole that’s near impossible to get out of. From the unheralded heights of ‘Queen’ to the schizoid effrontery of ‘Shaandaar’ his career sure appears to have taken a huge nosedive!