Nobody expects anything from the house of Yash Raj Films anymore! This is not only a big problem, but an unfortunate fact for the producers of the film Band Baaja Baaraat, produced by Aditya Chopra under the banner of Yash Raj Films. Until four years ago, one would expect a mega-blockbuster or quality urban cinema from almost every movie coming out of the production house, but the epic failure of the 2007 film Jhoom Barabar Jhoom and the consecutive failure of Pradeep Sarkar’s Laaga Chunari Mein Daag changed almost everything. Post then it’s been raining flops except for an occasional Chak De! India or New York. Then there are smaller hits like Badmaash Company and bigger ones like Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi. The whole pattern makes it clearer that the potential viewer would expect more from the other release No Problem than this one.
However, it’s too early to judge a movie before watching it; which is why questions like “How good will this movie before my money?” and “Will this be better than the products that have come out of Yash Raj of late?” tend to arise. Whether these questions generate into positive answers or not is reflected in my brief analysis below.
Bittoo Sharma (newcomer Ranveer Singh) and Shruti Kakkar (Anushka Sharma) have just graduated from college. The two 20-somethings are totally opposite each other – one’s a fun-loving brat who doesn’t want to go back to his father’s farms to work as a farmer, and the other’s an ambitious girl who has no time for love in her “rule book”. They meet in unusual circumstances, and reluctantly decide to become partners in her idea of opening a business of wedding planners. This gives birth to a modest company, “Shaadi Mubarak”, which start off with medium budget weddings and keeps going big, having one rule in mind – the wedding should be desi, and larger than life! In this process they get to know more and discover more of each other and, inevitably, themselves.
I assume the readers remember Habib Faisal’s debut direction Do Dooni Chaar and how it wowed the critics and the audience. Well, Faisal is back, this time with the screenplay and dialogues of yet another story (by Maneesh Sharma) on Delhi and it’s bindaas culture and people. This time as well, he doesn’t disappoint. In fact, the viewers get sucked into the zany life of Bittoo and Shruti.
What impresses me is they take no time to introduce the characters and set the base of the film in less than 20 minutes; a rarity in many films that have taken the route of eating up the first half in the name of character breakdown. Dialogues are smart and have a very raw, realistic touch to them. Each scene keeps itself from going over the top, and remains simple and restrained for the most part. The comic portions mainly rely on dry humor that will genuinely crack you up. The twist which makes way for the intermission is well written and well-played, and the events post the twist are very, very dexterously handled. Each fight between Anushka and Ranveer’s characters have a certain edge to them and though the makers could have taken the beaten path and made the fights loud and wordy; they’ve decided to keep the fights very subdued, with the display of emotions and intelligently written spitfire dialogues working as a huge subtext to the clichéd ones that could have been in the film. Debutant director Maneesh Sharma shows with the work that’s out for everyone to see, that he’s here to stay!
Production design of the film gives it an unsophisticated charm. Styling of the cast makes them down to earth. Cinematographer Aseem Mishra has done a commendable job trying to get the beauty of each frame composition in the film. Editing by Namrata Rao is amazing. I like the way she’s kept it basic almost everywhere, whilst also forming a powerful connection with continuity in each consecutive shot. Background score by Salim and Sulaiman Merchant have the punch. Right from the feisty “Ainvayi Ainvayi” and “Dum Dum” to the romantic “Aadha Ishq”, the fun-loving “Tarkeebein” and finally the moving “Mitra”, the songs take the right time to get into the scene.
Of the performances in the film, Anushka Sharma’s performance in the film proves that she’s full of surprises with every character she plays in every film. She is a powerhouse talent, and should keep choosing the right roles for herself to display her talent to a wider audience. Yash Raj should be proud of a find like this one! Ranveer Singh is another gem of a find! He’s done a mind-blowing job, looks ruggedly handsome and dances decently, besides having a variety of expressions and a handful of comic timing! Oh, and did I forget terrific body language and dialogue delivery? This dude is here to stay – and here to stay for very long! Of the supporting cast, Neeraj Sood catches your attention as Maqsood bhai. Manish Chaudhari has shown potential as the venom-spitting boss – Mr. Puri – in Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year and the television series Powder, and here too, albeit in a short role, he has the sophistication and the acting chops. We’d like to see him in more roles. Others are great.
Despite that, if you wonder why my rating doesn’t reflect the praise I’ve given the film, let me hereby put down a few ignorable flaws. While the first half is entertaining, the second-half slows down a tad bit and the humor as well disappears for a while. While it’s not a bad thing as such, a part of the audience would want full-on entertainment, and the dip in pace might not be something they’d appreciate. This can easily be ignorable, as otherwise, everything is smooth and the ride is without hiccups.
Overall, the film is young, fresh, and an exhilarating ride that decides to keep it basic, just like Hrishikesh Mukherjee would in his romantic comedies. Colorful visuals, infectious numbers, a heartwarming storyline and amazing performances make this one of the better romantic comedies after Anjaana Anjaani. So get yourself into the revelry by watching this chataak romantic comedy that’s, for a change, not treated like a date film.