If you read the subtitles of this film, "Shaandaar" translates to "splendiferous". Alas, splendiferous it is not. Much to my disappointment (I had expected a "decent entertainer") this film is boring, Scratch that - it is insufferable!
Alia (Bhatt) is a poor little orphan being brought up in a richie-rich khandaan, loved only by foster-dad Bipin. When Bipin's elder daughter, Isha's marriage is arranged with the Fundwani clan's scion, Robin, Alia meets wedding planner Jagjinder Joginder (Shahid Kapoor). Alia and JJ are both insomniacs and meet more than once during the night, notably once when he is out motor-biking and she is skinny-dipping (** rolls eyes **). Love etc. blooms.
And then what? Then nothing.
No, seriously. Then nothing. Such is the film. It goes nowhere. There is little to no script/story. The lead characters Alia and JJ are as dull as dishwater. Their meetings are Disney-ish, innocent (yes, even when she is skinny-dipping :-)) and non-oomphy, and the conversations unsparkly. The rest of the characters are badly-written, hollow and so very easy to not care about. Shahid and Alia make a charming couple but even they canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t rise above the half-baked writing.
The locale is a grand British castle, where both families have gathered to celebrate the destination wedding. So the film rolls out as a series of wedding related events - the grand picnic, the black-and-white dance night, the sangeet etc. The pity is that while all these glitzy events make for some nice shiny visuals, they fall flat without having a backbone of a story.
The namby-pamby romance takes a backseat to the other issues the film tries to tackle (unsuccessfully) - like the issue of fat-shaming. Then there is the domineering mommy trope, the evil wifey trope, self-esteem issues, and the oh-so-cliched pair of twins muttering "OMG" at every pregnant pause. Need I say more?
It is like the many makers of Shaandaar (too many cooks?) had a brainstorming session where they threw all their ideas at a blank storyboard. All the sad, jaded ideas stuck and were put together in random fashion into this mess of a movie.
Saving grace, you ask? The songs. Catchy and energetically presented. Watch those on YouTube and be done with the film.
Shandaar is directed by Bahl, who also directed Queen - now that was a legitimately splendiferous film! Karan Johar is in here too as is Vikramaditya Motwane (of Udaan fame) and Anurag Kashyap. August company, you think? Never in a million years would I have thought that all these filmmakers could jointly produce a disaster like Shaandaar. Oh, how the mighty have fallen!