Shuddh Desi Romance: Fairy tales exist, with or without marriage!

Why isn't it alright to never get married? This film questions the subcontinent's cultural obsession with marriage.

Samra Muslim September 11, 2013
Three days into the release of Shuddh Desi Romance (SDR), most of the Bollywood viewers (irrespective of whether they have seen the movie or not) know that the film circles around the theme of cohabitation, or live-in relationships as more commonly known. Most of these people have also formed opinions about the movie and its concept, which leaves little room for me to address the movie in. After all, what can I say? Everything has already been said!

Frankly, to me, SDR is not about love or relationships at all. Strangely enough, it makes me want to take a good look at the Indian subcontinent’s cultural fixations (and let’s not even get into the debate that Pakistan does not have the same ideals, it does).

PHOTO CREDITS: Shuddh Desi Romance Facebook Page

From the day a female child is born, we become paranoid with making sure she is raised the ‘right’ way; to become good marriage material. Similarly, the day a male child is born, we become obsessed with ensuring that he has a ‘good’ life – a good job, wife and kids.

Most people, by the time they go to college, are enthralled with the idea of trying to find a suitor to ‘settle down’ with. If, God forbid, we do not find this right person by the time we complete our education, there are chances that we’ll find them at our workplaces. However, the last resort for the ‘good kids’ (who do not want to rock the boat at home with a love marriage) is of course to opt for arranged marriages.

Once marriage is done away with, the fascination of having and rearing children of our own starts to brew. Have one child followed by the next one, and we are set for life in the same rut of ‘moulding’ the future of our children, just like our parents once moulded us.

Why are we so inclined towards these dogmas? Why does society force everyone to follow a fixed path? Why is it not alright to just follow the alternative – like to never get married? Why is a single girl labelled a ‘bechari’? Why is it wrong for anyone to just not want to ‘settle down’ with someone? Why is it that if there is a married couple without a child, it’s only because they have medical ‘issues’? So on and so forth.

PHOTO CREDITS: Shuddh Desi Romance Facebook Page

I believe SDR somehow touches these dogmas, all the while engaging its audiences in a captivating comedy.

SDR focuses on three individuals, Raghuram Sitaram (Sushant Singh Rajput), Gayatri (Parineeti Chopra) and Tara (Vaani Kapoor), who choose not to follow the standard path for addressing their lives and relationships. Yes, they are confused, they are scared to commit and they make mistakes that hurt people and each other – but isn’t that what happens in real life too?

SDR is definitely not a movie for those who watch Bollywood romantic comedies to escape the reality of their actual relationships and want to see typical fairy tale romance, like Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge and the rest of the flicks from the Yash Chopra-Karan Johar clan.

The movie questions (lo and behold!) the sanctity of marriage.

PHOTO CREDITS: Shuddh Desi Romance Facebook Page

SDR is actually a charming story of three youngsters. The movie is fun throughout and the viewers have nothing to complain as far as the entertainment quotient is concerned. The on-going gag about bathrooms is hilarious. The director and writers are witty in repeating some of the dialogues in the movie. Even the smaller details, like the mithai-walla (sweets maker) scratching his back with the channi (sieve) or the fake baraati's (invitees from the groom's side) asking for the gold chain, are funny.

The romance in the movie is very real and fresh, but I did feel that the makers really rushed the Shushant-Parineeti relationship. One minute she is kissing him in the bus and the next he has moved in with her!

PHOTO CREDITS: Shuddh Desi Romance Facebook Page

Another plus point of the movie is that for once the women are not crying, but are independent characters who do not mind saying what they feel and asking for what they want. Instead, it is their male counterpart who is confused and impulsive.

SDR – Performances:

The three lead characters of the movie are extremely natural. Sushant gets into the skin of a confused but honest Raghu pretty easily, however one does get the vibes of watching a Ranbir Kapoor or Ranveer Singh from his acting. Parineeti Chopra is fabulous with another one of her spontaneous performances, playing the bold and beautiful Gayatri. Vaani Kapoor looks pretty, amazingly confident for her debut movie and has a good on-screen presence as Tara.

PHOTO CREDITS: Shuddh Desi Romance Facebook Page

Rishi Kapoor gets special applause for doing a brilliant job as the extremely lovable Goyal.

SDR – Technical:

I totally want to visit Jaipur after watching the movie. The Pink City and its cultural nuances have been etched well in the movie’s plot.

Costume design is also impeccable and gives the movie a complete Rajasthaani look. The same goes for the music as well, which perfectly befits the theme of the movie and is enjoyable.

However, the editing department probably slept over a couple of reels as the movie is at least 10-15 minutes too long!

Honourable mention for Jaideep Sahni, for coming up and writing a script such as this, with its realistic simplicity which is quite rare.

PHOTO CREDITS: Shuddh Desi Romance Facebook Page

The final word:

Lastly, I saw a lot of disappointment in the crowd when the couple did not get married in the final act. FYI - that's exactly the point this movie was trying to make!

Go with an open mind about 'desi' romance and enjoy the movie for what it is! I would rate this film an easy 3.5 out of 5! Great job!
Samra Muslim She has been associated with Etihad Airways, Starwood Hotels & Resort and Zindagi Trust in the past and has recently moved to Digital Marketing Strategy with a leading agency based in Karachi. She tweets @samramuslim
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Milind | 8 years ago | Reply @Sohail khan - "Marriage is the gift of progress of humnity and history from the era of animals to the civilized era of human-being." Well may be it is a gift... maybe it isn't... If you read Osho... you may find an opposite marriage is artificial/man-made.... how love should precede and encompass everything - marriage included.... I am not opposing it, just challenging some assertions.. I find it funny when people talk about anything with certainty...
Mariam | 8 years ago | Reply This movie was terrible. Cheapness overload. Also it wasn't that funny.
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