Film: Saas Bahu Aur Sensex
Banner : P.L.A Entertainment Pvt Ltd & Warner Bros
Producer: Jayshri Makhija
Director: Shona Urvashi
Cast : Tanushree Datta, Ankur Khanna, Kirron Kher, Farooq Sheikh, Masumi Makhija, Lilette Dubey, Mukta Barve, Shehnaz Anand and Sudhanshu Pandey
Rating : 1.5/5
Earthy, feel-good, light films set in realistic, middle-class/upper-middle class milieus are growing. Saas, Bahu and Sensex adds itself to the group but with few pats as despite being relatable it remains distant, even hollow.
The first culprit is the script. A meandering affair with several uninspiring plot-points and even convenient turning points play spoilsports for a story which otherwise had a potential with its intriguing set-ups and melange of characters. The movie is about a divorcee and mother of one who discovers the stock market accidentally and inspires her group of friends to follow suit. It is also about finding some true love and finding what you really want but all these themes tie-up in a preachy and mundane climax that speaks about the importance of balancing money and relationships/emotions and being thrifty with nifty.
The movie, though not an out and out woman-oriented movie has strong leanings towards that. Women, their personalities, mental make-up, choices, relationships and attitudes all are explored and depicted in every female character making it almost a study in female behaviour. Alas, but it is limited and to most part caricatured. Not to mean with limited or shallow understanding of the ways of the fairer gender but with a definite lack of depth or range attributed to any character, reducing the film to more of a college play of sorts.
The kitty group of Kirron Kher, who plays Mrs Binita Sen, is the biggest example of it. Every nationality is faithfully represented wearing their traditional dress so typically as if it were Eid, Pongal or Shankranti everyday. This then is added with characters which are neither black, white or grey just outlines delivering lines and doing some slapstick moves that’s stereotyped as comedy these days. The movie begins with a realistic premise of the kitty group’s over-enthusiastic interest in Mrs Sen due to her divorcee status, even leading them to spy on her. But very soon it spirals to a listless mid-point when they make peace with her without a struggle, going onto timidly investing in stocks with her Parsi broker friend, played superbly by Sheikh. The group acts like a chorus meant for filling up a physical void and not a foil.
The love story which in essence is a triangle between Dutta, Khanna and Masumeh Makhija is a conundrum in itself. While Masumeh’s character, sexy-siren gold-digger character attempts to give an interesting twist to the film, its development and end leaves one feeling unsatisfied at its brevity. Similarly, does a Tanushree’s and Khanna’s story remain insipid for lack of exploration as well as ample expression. Rarely has the realisation of love been strikingly portrayed in films and Saas, Bahu and Sensex just notches the failure a bit more.
The film has a number of promising premises which had an element of newness but overkill and underdevelopment tends to kill them. The set-ups that the director uses are in themselves another example of it. Sprawling housing societies vs crusty South Mumbai offices and many more such depictions seem either out of place or ineptly done. Art direction is surprisingly inconsistent and unable to handle the realistic feel with the context of the film. Editing kept the pace steady thankfully removing the lags in an otherwise not so pacy film.
The romantic leads Khanna and Dutta do commendable justice to their roles and so does Masumeh who looks and acts the part of a gold-digger well. The kitty group is limited to typical exclamations and chorus lines and this is elevated to watchable only by Lilette Dubey. The rest remain representatives of their communities caught in their stereotypes.
The film is somewhat salvaged by the gracious presence of Kher and Sheikh who manage to raise their two-bit outlined character to a pleasing portrayal. In many ways they represent the yin and yang and both bring that out brilliantly with Kher’s subtle resilience and Shiekh’s bumbling innocence. All else pales in comparison. If only the movie revolved around the politics of the sexes which the two characters so beautifully embody and successfully portray.
But this was not to be and Saas, Bahu aur Sensex became a meandering film, now about this and now about that ending up as never much about anything at all.