Film: Shaadi ke Side Effects
Cast: Vidya Balan, Farhan Akhtar, Ram Kapoor and Vir Das
Director: Saket Chaudhary
It’s not a new take in any manner. We’ve seen so many Hollywood movies going through similar motions in order to spice-up a marriage and the jokes are all the kind that could well be downloaded from the Internet. So Ekta Kapoor, Pritish Nandy and Saket Chaudhary’s brand extension to Pritish Nandy communications’ surprise hit, ‘Pyar ke Side Effects’ is not exactly a novel experience even though it’s a fairly humorous one!
Saket’s script for the film doesn’t delve too deep into the psyche of a married couple. It prefers to draw out caricatures created from a series of dotted events in the life of a married man, albeit with convenient homilies on gender politics within the confines of a marriage. It’s wafer-thin enticement at best.
The segmented script which goes back and forth in time in the first fifteen odd minutes, settles down into a steady enough rhythm. It almost appears as if you have a runaway laugh-riot on your hands, but pre-meditated pulls and breaks on the narrative foil the fun element, transforming the light-hearted entreaty into a laborious and tedium inducing one.
Sid (Farhan) and Trisha (Vidya) behave like new-found lovers who set-off sparks after a rendezvous in a bar.
Both are married and talk about their respective spouses as the ones who are ruining their happiness. A few scenes later, prompted by a Hotel manager who takes them to task for their exhibitionism, the two reveal that they are indeed married to each other and engage in such lurid fantasies in order to spice-up their marriage. Then comes the fly in the ointment – a child.
The premise is quite believable but the treatment, set-up and exposition is not. Especially since we don’t exactly find out how the struggling musician earns money enough to spend for an expensive bike, fortnightly stays in a five-star or a PG- leave alone a well-dressed cultured ayah (a.k.a Bai played by Ila Arun – one who charges Rs.15,000, no less per month).
The script has other problems too. The husband-wife politicking looks overly exaggerated and the characters are never completely believable because they yo-yo from one extreme to another. Especially that of the wife, who’d rather not believe ill of her husband who is living-up to all the signs of someone having an affair on the side. In fact the entire run of play is slanted towards making the women look and sound stupid and clueless. After all its Sid’s point of view.
The narration is by Sid, of course, who strives to garner sympathy for all husbands with his tale. One who makes his three year old daughter take a guided horse-ride on a busy main street and then forgets all about her (to the extent of even leaving her behind) while he gets caught-up in a soccer match on TV at a local café. When the truth comes out and that too towards the end, the wife is given the token right to put her hubby through the wringer before the inevitable happens.
The characters are likeable because of the talents of the actors in their skin. Both Vidya and Farhan perform with tangible sincerity and heart. The situations they grapple with, while not entirely outlandish, do appear far too exaggerated to be exactly believable. If spouses started critiquing every failing of their other halves then no marriage is likely to withstand that strain – even with innovative methods of spicing-up coming into play. So don’t try to re-arrange your married life based on this one – just go ahead and enjoy it!