Film review: Vivah

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Film:Vivah

Rating: 2.5/5

Director: Sooraj Barjatya

Producer: Kamal Kumar Barjatya, Rajkumar Barjatya, Ajit Kumar Barjatya

Cast: Shahid Kapoor, Amrita Rao, Anupam Kher, Alok Nath, Seema Biswas.

Poonam (Amrita Rao) is an upper middle class girl who lives in the small town of Madhupur with her uncle (Alok Nath) and his family. Where on one hand her uncle has fostered fatherly love on her, her chachi (Seema Biswas) has been unable to accept Poonam as their own child because she is more beautiful than her own daughter Rajni (Amrita Prakash).

Poonam’s simple and affectionate demeanor touches the heart of Bhagat ji (Manoj Joshi), who plays the role of a matchmaker. Bhagat ji takes Poonam’s marriage proposal to Mr. Harish Chandra (Anupam Kher), a renowned and affluent New Delhi businessman, for his son Prem (Shahid Kapoor).

Prem is a young, soft spoken, charming and well-educated scion of the Chandra family. Prem is initially taken aback by the idea of marriage and feels he is too young for marriage and needs to focus on his career first. Nonetheless he is respectful to his father’s wish and agrees to meet Poonam.

What follows is the initial meeting arranged by the two families wherein Prem and Poonam get engaged- to be married in six months. Their initial meetings and conversations seem too naively carved to be true. In fact one really wonders whether relationships do build up in such a manner in today’s age… with sequences like the girl not asking the boy any questions in their first meeting and only blushing away and later with the boy asking the girl to meet him on the terrace in the night. True, the initial awkwardness may be there, but surely youngsters today are very curious to know about the lives of their soul mates.

As the chemistry between Prem and Poonam develops further they interact more on phone calls and letters and celebrations follow. Six months fly by and Prem and Poonam are on the verge of exchanging marriage vows.

But her Chachi is not happy with the marriage and the expenditure. She is even worried for her own daughter and hence does not want to participate in Poonam’s marriage celebrations. Poonam is already so forlorn, and then another crisis puts Prem and Poonam through a trial.

Poonam’s house catches fire and she has suffered serious burn injuries. The marriage preparations go down the drain. What follows are the tribulations and hesitations that Poonam and her family face. Will Prem’s love stand unconditional and will he still accept Poonam? This is what forms the climax of the movie.

Full marks to Sooraj for a heart wrenching climax, that seamlessly spans for over 30 minutes. Although the climax is emotional and tear jerking, it must be mentioned that it is not at all depressing. In fact the audience can be rest assured to walk out with a smile in spite of having shed tears.

The balance film lacks the luster to hold the audience. The film also lacks believability at a few places especially for the city audience and the youth. As mentioned above, the development of chemistry between Poonama and Prem is too naïve to hold true for the youth of today.

A doubt that crops up in the mind is – even as Poonam is able to push her sister and save her from the fire, what stops here from saving herself? Sooraj could have crafted that scene more convincingly.

As much as Sooraj may have tried to make Vivah appear different from Hum Apke Hain Kaun (HAHK), one does see refrains of HAHK in the form of marriage preparations. Also Alok Nath as the vulnerable father once again, and Anupam Kher as the humble and rich father and to top it all Sooraj’s own style of film making will draw the audience back to HAHK.

The first half of Vivah moves at a slow pace but it picks pace gradually. Thankfully the songs have been used tactfully and scenes roll by as the songs play in the background. The music by Ravindra Jain may suit the flavour of the film but has no endearing value. The film has no scope for lavish costumes and sets, nonetheless whatever has been presented justifies the feel of the story. Dialogues by Aash Karan Atal are impressive in a few scenes but just about OK in the others.

Shahid’s role of a cute loving boy suits him aptly and he does justice to it as well. But that of Amrita’s leaves a lot to be desired. In the climax, when she bears injuries on her body her sufferings aren’t emoted well. Performances by Alok Nath, Anupam Kher and Seema Biswas are absolutely power packed. Alok Nath has returned to the silver screen after a long time and that too in an emotional role, which will be noted as a pleasant one.

Lata Saberwal and Samir Soni as Prem’s brother and sister-in-law lend able support. Amrita Prakash delivers good performance as Poonam’s sister. Manoj Joshi is good in a relatively serious character compared to his past comedies. Monish Behl in the special appearance deserves a special acclaim especially because in a short role he gets one of the best dialogues in the film.

On the whole, neither does the film have star value nor does it have good music to draw the audience to the theatres. But since the film has a heart warming story, mouth publicity will definitely come to its rescue.