‘SHAADISTHAN’ ATTEMPTS TO BE RIGHT ON POINT, BUT FAILS

Rating: 2/5
Director Raj Singh Chaudhary sets out to comment on the terrible situation of women caught in the web of patriarchy and societal ties, but keeps meandering on a route that never reaches the destination

If only intentions made a film win, Shaadisthan would be the undisputed champion. But when the message or the meaning gets lost in the poorly crafted screenplay, all you are left with is a despicable affair with nothing to take away. The writers seem confused all through the film on what stand they actually want to take. Unconventional film, yes. But not everything that challenges the system is approved of.

Watch the trailer here:

PLOT

A family of three in Mumbai wants to attend a wedding in Ajmer. But they have missed their flight. Why? There’s some secret. The relative from Ajmer arranges for their trip along with the Mumbai based group that’s going to perform in his sangeet ceremony. Begins a road trip of revelations and discoveries.

STORY/SCREENPLAY/GENERAL

The story is by Raj Singh Chaudhary. Screenplay and dialogues are penned by Chaudhary, Kartik Chaudhry, and Nishank Verma with additional dialogues by Kuldeep Ruhil. This is a classic case of ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’, especially in the dialogues front. Genuinely. The film sets out initially on a promising path (of course, with a relatively dull production value, which improves later) setting your hopes high. But very soon, the hopes shatter like a house of cards.

Two different worlds come together for a good intention. But the preachy nature of the film puts you off. The main character of the film is always ready to lock horns with anyone who interferes her space. The second lead doesn’t speak anything, even in places where she’s required to.

The main conflict of the film- the main focus comes in quite late in the film, by which time you are only guessing as to why is the film moving. Yes, the drama does pick up just when you get to know of the bigger picture and you are excited. But even that hasn’t been consistently played. Unnecessary characters  and situations have been added (Kay Kay Menon’s track or the father deboarding for some work) just to elongate the length, and also so that the leads get some time to talk and introspect.

Shaadisthan, disney+hotstar, hindi, film, review, 2021
A scene from the film (image source: disney+hotstar)

There are scenes where some harsh realities of life are being targeted. Through conversations. However, it has been made to sound harsh but how it is shown on screen is plain and boring. The problem isn’t with the idea or story, but screenplay only. The way things occur on screen makes it look as if it’s not going anywhere. There are also points when characters contradict themselves, making you cringe.

Societal boundations, patriarchy, talk of early marriage, choices, freedom- so much has been talked about but nothing clear comes out of it. As a result, you are left confused on what to make out of the film. Good points- the main conflicting point comes across properly, atleast initially. The musicality of the film is justified. The chemistry between the characters is also infused with humour and logic. But they are not etched out with intelligence.

PERFORMANCES

Kirti Kulhari has a monotonous role. She does justice though. She’s a fine actor. And she doesn’t disappoint at all. Since it’s her, you’ve seen her, you know her- you have a sense that you have to belong to her.

Nivedita Bhattacharya has also performed well, in a restricted role, that’s literally in the boundaries in the drama. You like her graph in the film move from one point to another.

Shaadisthan, disney+hotstar, hindi, film, review, 2021
Scenes from the film (image source: disney+hotstar)

Kay Kay Menon gives the film flamboyance in a character that’s actually not needed in the film. You like him.

Medha Shankar maintains the same expressions all throughout but that’s what needed. It’s a good portrayal of a girl who’s caught in the web of society.

Rajan Modi, Shenpenn Khymsar, Apurva Dogra, and especially Ajay Jayanthi who deserves epcial mention have also lived up to their roles well. The performance is satisfactory.

OTHER TECHNICALITIES

Music by Nakul Sharma and Sahil Bhatia suits the film and the points where the songs appear are good breathers. The placement of the songs is right. Score by Sahil Bhatia could be so much better in scenes that matter. There is negligible projection of emotional and important scenes. They come and go with minimal impact.

Cinematography by Sushil Rajpal is decent. It could be better at so many levels. Shaky camera could be avoided. The experimentation of extreme closeups could be avoided. Production design by Wasiq Khan is satisfactory but not exciting enough to keep you visually invested.

Editing by Aarti Bajaj is good. In 93mins of runtime, you sufficiently get the essence, if there is any. That’s ofcourse the writing part. But the job on the editing table has been done nicely, giving the film a holistic view. There is predictability but again, that’s because of weak screenplay.

This is clearly not a film you would like to invest your time in. There are much better things to plunge into. Since it’s Kirti Kulhari, there is some respite. But even her presence isn’t worthy enough.

 

Rochak Saxena

Rochak Saxena a Mass Media Teacher, former journalist at DNA and an ardent lover of Hindi films - literally. The blog derives its name from the popular term ‘Willing Suspension of Disbelief’, most commonly used in the world of literature and cinema. Meaning to immerse yourself in an unreal world (where you know what you see on screen is fake) with a self-proclaimed/declared belief/wish to consider it real, the willing world becomes magical. It’s the same magic every Friday that drives Rochak to share things in the perspective that it needs to be observed with. Every film is different. And the difference needs to be cherished.

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