Friday, December 10, 2010

Film review: Band Baaja Baarat

Knot to be missed!

Director: Maneesh Sharma
Starring: Anushka Sharma, Ranveer Singh
Stars: ***1/2

Yash Raj's last release of every year is turning out to be their best. In 2008, they gave us Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, a charming film that has aged rather well. Last year, there was Rocket Singh and though it proved to be a non-starter at the boxoffice, it went on to amass plenty of critical acclaim. The banner often berated for high-gloss, shallow, assembly line commercial tripe have still been coming up at least one good film a year. And that film this year is Band Baaja Baarat. In a pleasant surprise, it hits all the right buttons. The script has vigour and swing, crackles with humour and for the better part of its running time, is very entertaining.

The film is set in Delhi, where Shruti (Anushka Sharma) having assisted her aunt as a wedding planer has plans of branching out on her own. She meets Bittoo (newcomer Ranveer Singh), who dreading having to go back and help his father in his sugarcane farms, pleads with Shruti to take him as her business partner. Once they start working jointly as wedding planners, they are an immediate success. They move on to bigger things and all seems well. High on success, both give way to their passion on a particular night. While Shruti falls headlong in love with Bittoo, the latter gets nervous and confused. His immaturity and bravado, in spite of his essential goodness, make him fail to recogonise love and he inadvertently hurts Shruti. Along with his North-Indian Jat machismo, there is also a hint of chauvinism in Bittoo's attitude. The couple separate acrimoniously and the rest of the story hinges on whether these two will ever come together again.

The film is set in the heart of Delhi - a city often defined by its ostentatious show of wealth, and the setting therefore compliments the theme of the film perfectly. The director does not satarise its denizens like how Khosla Ka Ghosla or Love, Sex Aur Dhokha did, but there are moments that gently touch upon the frivolity and excesses practised in high-profile weddings in the city. For example, there's a scene where an affluent family talks to a elite wedding planner about how it was embarrassing to see lilies instead of roses being showered on the groom. The wedding planner herself talks to prospective clients about how she likes to keep her wedding classy without the high-decible tackiness. There are such telling scenes that bring a smile to your face.

The detailing and authenticity keep the film rooted and likable. From the succulent bread pakodas that the characters bite into to the pitch perfect accent to the colourful local lingo, all of this helps to wonderfully bring out the atmospheric flavours of Delhi. The director has taken many fresh faces and extracts understated yet striking performances from all of them.
But the two actors leading the show are obviously Anushka and Ranveer. Both are highly effective in their parts and effortlessly 'become' their characters. Anushka has an especially meaty role and she shines in her part as she portrays all the contradictions in her character. Ranveer makes a smashing debut - extremely confident with a crackling comic timing. This film allows him to showcase his skills without it ever becoming a conventional Bollywood launch for a hero. The characters are all well-etched and the conflicts are all reflective of today's generation and echoes themes seen in Break Ke Baad and Love Aaj Kal, where the couples battle with their emotions vis a vis friendship and love, love and marriage and love and sex.

The film has no glaring flaws, but a better music score would have aided it greatly. It has 'Lut gaya...' which is its best bet, but all the others are sub par. The other niggling criticism is about the pre climax dance sequence with Shruti and Ranveer taking centre stage. Now, which wedding planners would have time to perform in such an elaborately choreographed dance sequence?

But on all other counts, this is a refreshing ride by all means.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

good review. there has been hardly any good movies this year and that is kind of reflected in your reviews. I thot anushka was fresh and actually liked her in badmaash company also - i think this girl is going to go to the top.

btw - how abt a review of phas gaya obama

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