If Katti Batti and Shaandaar are anything to go by, we aren’t getting excited about films by their surprisingly good trailers anymore. Both of them have cut surprisingly good trailers, that turn out to be the only decent bits in the movie; and that too only in isolation in the trailer.
Vikas Bahl had got the plot right with Queen; he has gone ahead and lost it all together with its follow up. Shahid Kapoor plays Jaginder Joginder (or Tenthouse), the dapper suited-booted event manager of The Wedding who is getting the golden goose of the family married off to the Fundwani’s heir apparent, Prince Pea-Brain of Eight and a Half Abs, with a Scottish Castle as the backdrop. Pankaj Kapur plays Alia Bhatt’s protective father, who is scared this new age Raj is going to take his darling daughter away while the wedding preparations for her sister are still on — a storyline so repeated it might as well have been part of the Ramlila. The marriage also happens to be a business deal — the matriarch in effusive white sarees has decided to marry the girl and bring in the cash, and the fact that neither the boy nor the girl wants to get married to each other is a question that hasn’t come up as a matter of concern. Since important matters in this family have been brushed under the carpet, they move headlong into wedding shenanigans. And by wedding shenanigans, I mean CGI green frogs stuffed in the bridesmaid’s boots, kidnapping the bride and dressing her up as a Disney Princess in the the middle of the night so that she may feel better about the fact that her fiancée called her fat, golden guns with diamond studs on them, an entire baraati acting drunk after having hash brownies and mushrooms for breakfast on a Tuesday.
Shaandaar tries to satirise the “Great Indian Wedding Shosha” with all its bizarre consequences, forgetting that it was Bollywood that brought in the concept of a filmy wedding in the first place. We are looking at you Bollywood, for the hundred ridiculous sets that weddings have as par course nowadays. Karan Johar does a cameo and plays “Mehendi with Karan” with the bride and groom, a lame show where he is asking the bride and groom questions to know how well they know each other (the bride knows them all because there is intense pressure on the bride to pretend she is having a fairytale wedding, while the groom is okay with being a general a**). Other bizarre sub plots that are meant to be a commentary on the ridiculousness of such farce, ends up garbling the plot and making it completely incohorent.
A comment here on the horrible idea of introducing CGI graphics and animation into the fray. Perhaps the director was intrigued by Mary Poppins: either way comic strips appearing on people’s heads in an otherwise non-animation film makes them look halfway daft, and it doesn’t help that their characters are closer to caricatures. Arbitrary cutaways in the middle of the film leads to making it even more bizarre than it is: there is a whole Noah’s ark of animals from what look like Nat Geo clips that has made it to the final cut. For instance, when Alia Bhatt sleeps, so does a seal, a walrus and the CGI frog around the world in the film. At its lowest ebb, there is a sequence of a freckled, animated Pankaj Kapur wooing his animated beloved in a strange video game world, until boom, we’re back in the real world. We’re thinking a cross between Ta Ra Rum Pum and Tees Maar Khaan to Altaf Raja’s music by this time.
Bahl returns to the theme of women’s empowerment by having a bride here who is the perfect image of what a “Haalthy” person should look like. The film makes some good points about fat jokes, though in conjunction with the rest of the film, that bit seems like a public service announcement in the middle of the film. Costumes are equally over-the-top and maintain the film’s vibe: at one point, she wears an entire kid’s kitchen set on her multi coloured crop top. From afar, you would think they are ugly big crystals, until the camera zooms in closer to reveal a strainer and pressure cooker hanging from her shoulder. This is where we decided to try making any sense of this movie at all.