The ApunKaChoice movie review of Shuddh Desi Romance. Band baaja baaraat and bolt! The characters in director Maneesh Sharma’s sweet and tangy romantic caper Shuddh Desi Romance are prone to bolting from the wedding mandap. Falling in love, for them, is easy. “Control-se-baahar wala attraction” drives them into relationships -- both platonic and live-in -- but when it comes to the crunch and taking that relationship to the next level with saat pheras and nuptial vows, they baulk, and sneak out for a loo break and -- you guessed it -- bolt. Bolt into a new relationship and new phobias of commitment.
The vagaries of the heart are delightfully depicted in Shuddh Desi Romance, set in Jaipur and among the characters that we all can easily relate to.
There’s Raghu (Sushant Singh Rajput) a tourist guide who wears his naive heart on the sleeve but is struck with the fear of lifelong commitment on his wedding night to the pretty and demure Tara (Vaani Kapoor). So he slinks out for a loo break to answer his commitment phobe heart’s call and -- as explained above -- vanishes.
Out goes Tara and in comes Gayatri (Parineeti Chopra), a spunky girl who’s seen all and done all the hanky-panky stuff of relationships and even had an abortion she is unapologetic about. And when this live-in relationship between Gayatri and Raghu heads to the wedding mandap, the tables are turned and it’s the bride’s turn to baulk and bolt.
Out goes Gayatri and in comes Tara again. But she has vendetta on her mind.
This game of musical chairs, this merry-go-round goes on between the three vacillators, and director Maneesh Sharma gently guides the tale to a conclusion that’s not entirely unpredictable but is engrossing nonetheless.
Shuddh Desi Romance is propped by the wonderful characters etched by writer Jaideep Sahni. Be it the goofy Raghu who expresses his feelings openly but is shy of admitting to neighbors his live-in relationship, or be it the outspoken, cigarette puffing, I-don’t-care-a-hoot Gayatri, or the composed, confident and yet demure Tara: the characters and their quirks add tons to take the story forward. There’s also the curiously droll and rotund wedding fixer (Rishi Kapoor) who’s amusingly resigned to the roving ways of the young generation.
One finds hardly anything to nitpick in the performances but a special mention for Parineeti Chopra for her effortless performance. She’s one hell of a natural actress. Vaani Kapoor holds her stead well and Sushant Singh Rajput does fine for his dithering, dil-phek Raghu.
Shuddh Desi Romance never wallows in the melodrama of romantic rejection and always keeps a room for humour that’s desi to its bone. The film does tend to go into a loop mode in the second half, but it never tests your patience in its 141 minutes of running time. It’s a light, frothy, quirky, sweet and tangy tale of romance and rejection, of live-in relationships and fear of commitment.