Maneesh Sharma’s Shuddh Desi Romance
is a romantic comedy from the Yash Raj Films banner replete with the whole song dance montage.
A Gala presentation at TIFF 2013 the film looks at live-in relationships in modern day evolving India where love is just a handy commodity and marriage is perceived as a dose of glucose! Set in small town Jaipur, the film is a love triangle between Raghuram, a tourist guide and salesman (Sushant Singh Rajput), Gayatri (Parineeti Chopra) and Tara (Vaani Kapoor). All three characters have their own opinion about love, relationships and commitment and do not conform to traditional views.
Yet ironically even as the name suggests, the whole premise of the film is a bit random and it is not clear what motivates two young smart women to pursue a loser. Raghu doesn't have a steady job and goes about tricking foreigners into purchasing goods much more than they cost. Gayatri works part-time teaching English and also as a paid wedding guest. Tara, an aspiring flight attendant is Raghu’s beautiful bride-to-be but the confused groom gets cold feet and runs away from the wedding. Instead he moves in with Gayatri who is well experienced and has had her share of break-ups in relationships.
Things are not what they appear to be and every character’s reaction is not what you might expect it to be. The characters break into monologues trying to explain their position to the audience. Yet it’s hard to connect to either of them. The chemistry between Parineeti Chopra and Sushant Singh Rajput is lacking and the much publicized and over-hyped kisses are awkward and lack tenderness or passion. Vaani Kapoor is noteworthy in her debut and looks refreshingly beautiful, comfortable and familiar in every scene.
The most convincing character in the film is Rishi Kapoor who runs a catering business and hires Gayatri and Raghu both to be wedding guests. Sporting a grey moustache for this role, Kapoor gives the moments of comedy and realism to the film. Right from the way he is dressed, the way he eats to his accent, Kapoor really does steal the show.
The film has a rich palette and Jaipur’s backdrop makes it vibrant visually. The colors, sights, sound and food of Jaipur come alive in the film. The script by Jaideep Sahni is repetitive and lacks panache. Sharma who is well known for his film Band Baaja Baarat has not been able to create the same buoyancy in Shuddh Desi Romance. The film disappoints on both the romantic and comic level.