Film Review: Just Married

Just Married Film Review

Producer: Pritish Nandy and Rangita Pritish-Nandy

Writer & Director: Meghna Gulzar

Cast: Fardeen Khan, Esha Deol, Kirron Kher, Satish Shah, Mukul Dev, Raj Zutshi, Sadia Siddiqui, Tarina Patel, Bikram Saluja, Perizaad Zorabian, Neelima Azim, Apra Mehta, Kiran Karmakar.

Rating: 2.5/5

There are times when a film looks just right on paper and waiting to explode on celluloid. That is exactly the case with Meghna Gulzar’s second film, Just Married. It is waiting to explode but never really does.

The story is about two individuals caught in a marriage in a way they did not want to. The film deals with them coming to terms with their new status during their honeymoon and how they come out shining (and in love) in the end. The premise, that of an arranged marriage between two educated, urban youngsters of the 21st century is not unbelievable. It is a fact. What is extremely unbelievable is that arranged marriages, where the bride and groom do not even meet once before tying the knot, happen among the mileu that the protagonists are shown to inhabit. First of the various faults in a loose, un-smart screenplay.

But for now let us forget the fact because thankfully it does not really hinder the rest of the film. However, other glitches in the writing do. For example, the introduction of the subsidiary characters – convenient and disenchanting; the mood of the Honeymoon Hotel – unreal and the fight between the newly weds – at best a tiff and not really a full-blown war. The climactic situation is unmentionable. Worst of all too much is told, an absolute anathema for a love-story, which has to be seen and felt and not heard. Sadly, the screenplay is inept at handling a story, which had a lot of potential.

Despite that, the film has its moments. There are times when Fardeen steals your heart with his boyish grin and Esha with her innocent looks. The capers of the other characters too bring a smile on your lips now and then but the problem is it never really becomes a sigh of pleasure. While Fardeen’s character is shown to be multi-faceted, Esha’s character fails to rise above the typical coy, confused girl and just because of that fails to connect with the audience, thereby taking the love-story down with it. Like in the film, nothing really happens even between them. Which is sad because the film IS about them.

The pace of the film is slow, not really a hindrance but after a point, an irritant when things just do not seem to be moving along. The stories of other eight characters (four couples) keeps the momentum going but does not add the refreshing value that it could have simply because of unexplored, uni-dimensional characters and their stories. While the ensemble cast has done an admirable job of poorly written characters, it is still sad to see the likes of Kirron Kher and Perizaad Zorabian wasted in them.

All the five different tracks converge at finding love within marriage in an unbelievably silly climax of a near accident. If nothing, the climax has to be seen to be believed.

Technically, the film is, again average. The lack of superior quality does not handicap the film but it definitely leaves the viewer wanting more. Gulzar’s lyrics are quirky at best and the film loses out on the sensitivity his poetry could bring in. Things like breath-taking views, poetic music, softer and more nuanced lighting, add a totally different dimension to a romantic film which Just Married could have easily done with.

Performances by the lead pair are convincing and Esha surprises with a constrained and credible performance in a poorly written role. Fardeen looks (and acts) more natural than he ever did and the credit for both, definitely goes to the director. Wish she could have done the same with the other characters as well. Although Perizaad brings in a nuanced performance, Kirron Kher delivers an almost stereotypical portrayal of a woman in mid-60’s who is a nagging wife. Sadiya Siddiqui’s acting is sensitive whereas Mukul Dev is apt for his small role. Satish Shah, Raj Zutshi and new-comer Tarina Patel have little to do and hence do little. Bikram Saluja badly needs to take acting classes.

As mentioned earlier, the film has its moments, which elevate it to a could-watch-it-once status. But, watch it without any expectations.