After a host of disappointing movies I wasn’t expecting much from Meghna Gulzars JUST MARRIED, though the association of P.N.C (PYAAR KE SIDE EFFECTS) did give me hope that this would be a cut above the rest. And surprisingly JUST MARRIED didn’t disappoint. The movie is a very simple, touching and poignant romantic-comedy which never pretends to be anything but and turns out to be an enjoyable yarn.
The movie revolves around Abhay Sachdeva (Fardeen Khan) and Rithika Khanna (Esha Deol). A young couple who are bonded by an arrange marriage organised by their parents. Married to each other on the outside, yet complete strangers to one another in the inside the married couple go on their honeymoon to Ooty hoping to give birth to a romance. Having never held hands with each other, having never romanced each other, heck having never even had a proper conversation with each other, the two thrust into their honeymoon where they are expected to share the same bed as each other. What follows next is a poignant and soft journey of self-discovery of a husband and wife who have not yet fallen in love. Will they survive their new-found relationship as husband and wife? Or will their honeymoon be the beginning of the end?
Meghna Gulzars story right from the outset is clear about what it wants to be. Meghna attempts to portray middle-class India where romance and love start with the ultimate commitment-marriage. The story is slow to start and Meghna successfully involves the viewers with her soft and realistic touch which grows on the viewer more and more as the movie progresses. The story maintains the same pace throughout the whole movie and the restrained manner in which Meghna stays true to her vision and characters is simply marvelous and refreshing.
As a director Meghna Gulzar has directed a movie which is an instant reminder of the soft romances directed by the likes of Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Basu Chatterjee and even her own father Gulzar. There is no forced attempt to add anything to the characters or proceedings in order to make it “cool”. In today’s day and age when the public wants a extravagant yet hollow DHOOM 2, it is no doubt that a movie like JUST MARRIED fails badly, however this is not to take anything away from the movie itself. Meghna has made a movie so simply yet so touching in it’s own way it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that movies like these are just not made in today’s day and age.
The screenplay is simply superb; however some cynics will say “there is nothing there”. The foundation on which Abhay and Rithika have an argument is indeed weak, and it’s meant to be. It’s not so much about the argument that they have, and more about the fact that the two married people don’t know or understand each other at all that even the smallest thing turns into an argument so big. The pacing too is slow, the sequence of events that unfold on-screen are akin to reality and at times it’s like prying into the lives of a newly wed couple and again I felt this worked in the movies favor. The slow pace allowed time for the character to really grow on the viewer and for us to actually care about them. Sooraj Barjatyas recent VIVAH can draw a comparison to this movie, but where JUST MARRIED differs is that it doesn’t coat itself in saccharine and sugar, and comes across as totally natural and fresh. The humor in the movie is natural to the core, and it’s the kind that leaves you with a knowing smile on your face rather than making you laugh-out-loud.
Yes the movie has flaws, the tracks of the other married couples on their honeymoon never come across as well as they should except for Satish Shah-Kirron Kher and Bikram Saluja-Perizad Zoribaan. The finale too appears a little forced in the end, though in the context of the movie works rather well, specially the concluding reels of the movie.
The backbone of the movie is no doubt the performance. Meghna Gulzar has taking time, care and attention when etching out the characters of Abhay and Rithika and even more painstaking precision when presenting them on-screen and this effort is gloriously evident.
Fardeen Khan as Abhay delivers what I would classify as his finest performance to date. Believable, honest, sober and matured this is no doubt a performance where Fardeen has surrendered himself to the director and let himself be molded to the directors vision. He slips into the rather warm and likeable character of Abhay with relish and etches out the smallest nuances with precision. The use of silence, facial expressions and body language to portray feelings here is simply outstanding, and Fardeen hits all the right notes. His delivery has improved and he suits playing the “common guy”.
Esha Deol as Rithika too slips into her character rather efficient and she too delivers what can be her finest performance to date. Playing the head-strong yet unsure newly married bride she is simply striking and leaves a lasting impression on the viewer. Her get-up and body language is spot on, and more-so she exudes a 100 emotions with her searching and longing eyes, a chip of the old block for sure, Esha again proves she is much more than just another pretty face in Bollywood.
The supporting cast is likeable in their assorted roles. Bikram Saluja is good in his part and hits the right notes; however it’s Perizad Zoriban who springs a surprise in her part. The girl is just a delight to watch, and I seriously hope she gets meatier roles in the future. Mukul Dev after a hiatus is impressive, his delivery is superb and he exudes warmth. Sadia is spot-on and is very very cute! Tarina Patel is expressive and leaves her mark, while Raj Zutsi is as expected in his. Satish Shah and Kirron Kher are delightful to watch. They provide ample laughs throughout without going over-the-top at all, and the chemistry they share is thoroughly pleasant and natural to the core. Once again the detail with which their characters have been etched out is evident throughout.
Pritams music is simply fantastic to say the least. The songs have all been superbly paced and magnificently choreographed. RAAM MILAYE JODI is catchy right at the start and extremely eye-catching. DOHA and JAAGTE RAHO are both apt in their parts, however the winning song in my books is BAAT PAKKI which comes just at the right moment and has been picturised with such a striking amount of honesty.
Sachin Krishn’s cinematography is eye-catching and the locales of Ooty have never looked so beautiful.
Folks, sometimes it’s the simple things in life which catch you off guard and end up being an undemanding pleasure, JUST MARRIED is one of them. Simple and feel good cinema which doesn’t pretend to be otherwise.