Pic credit : inplayer.info
Pic credit : inplayer.info

Cast: Kunal Roy Kapur, Tara Alisha Berry, Rajesh Sharma

Director: Vishal Mishra

Rating: * * ½

Metaphorically speaking, this film has a Mars Versus Venus construct transposed to a Kanpur Versus Lucknow one – but the similarities end there. John Gray’s famous analogy exemplifying most common relationship problems between men and women as a result of fundamental psychological differences between the sexes, doesn’t really hold strong in this film because the writing isn’t generically inclined.

The script, while interesting in its attempt to garner distinctiveness, fails to catch fire. A rather insipid, uninspiring character, Marudhar Pandey (Kunal Roy Kapur), named after the express train he was born in, is rather forcibly put-to-wed Chitra (Tara Alisha Berry of Love Games and The Perfect Girl, fame) an ambitious, outspoken, self-aware beautician – by his sex-crazed widower father (Rajesh Sharma) who also manages to get Marudhar to toe his line on getting his new wife pregnant within the stipulated three months.

The couple don’t appear to be well-matched, their reasons for coming together seem phony and their honeymoon in Nainital is as limpid and woebegone as the lead male character. That’s meant to be, I guess. A side-step in the form of a former boyfriend Manish Bansal, a hotelier, chancing them at their hotel and his overbearing attempt to monopolise Chitra’s attention, tests Marudhar’s forbearance. He overreacts and causes a rift which widens further after Chitra’s sudden revelation that she is pregnant after three days of marriage.

The implications are many but the families ignore them and are ecstatic. There’s little logic to support that subplot and the dialogues play hard at being fanciful and witty even though the effect is rather mindless. Forcibly interspersed into that relationship fracas is the titter-tatter of an elderly couple (Ramesh and Seema Deo) and some silly stand-up routines by Marudhar’s buddies Sundar and Kapil.

The only thing that keeps the narrative buoyant is Tara Alisha Berry’s spirited performance. She has the screen presence and confidence to leave an impact on Bollywood. This film, though, coming as it does after, Bareilly Ki Barfi and similar small-town based romcoms, feels spuriously appropriated, unremarkable and lacking in substance.

The writing should have been sharper and wittier still, the characterisations should have been more believable and the narration could have done well with a little bit of flair. This film may have remarkable clarity in sound but the conceptualisation and development seem altogether perfunctory. This one is no express train, it feels more like a holiday special giving way to all-comer before it can head to its destination, beleaguered and out of sorts! Johnsont307@gmail.com

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