Shaandaar Review: Mis-Matched Ado About Nothing


Vikas Bahl’s Shaandaar opens with an animated sequence narrating the story of Bipin’s (Pankaj Kapur) dysfunctional family headed by a matriarch (Sushma Seth) who believes even marriages are a business deal. She has arranged for Bipin’s daughter, and her granddaughter Isha (Sanah Kapur) to be married to Robin, the brother of a wealthy Sindhi family. The Fundwani’s are the butt of the Sindhi joke, wearing more gold and bling that Singh!

When the Fundwani’s arrive at an English (we think) stately home in a fleet of gold Rolls Royce cars for the wedding between Robin and Isha, you would be forgiven for believing you have suddenly entered an Anees Bazmee or Prabhudeva film. Because the recycled and rehashed PJs, the shallow characters and the bling do not ally with the same director who made the delightful Queen.

While Isha is the overweight child being bartered for a business deal, Alia is happy-go-lucky orphan girl Bipin mysteriously brought home one night. Alia suffers from insomnia, which means she cannot dream. But this changes when Alia meets wedding planner Jagjinder Joginder or JJ (Shahid Kapoor) who is also an insomniac. But in each other’s company, the pair finally sleeps peacefully. Now in the midst of all the wedding shenanigans and events (sangeet, black and white party, picnics etc), which includes many snide comments on Isha’s girth and jibes at protein-shake pumped 8-pack obsessed himbos, Alia and JJ fall in love. Now it’s just a matter of convincing Bipin that there is a man in this world good enough for his darling Alia.

Several plot points and themes are borrowed from fairytales (Cinderella, The Frog Prince) and Hollywood films (Weekend at Bernie’s etc), and most of the narrative is incoherent. Chaitaly Parmar and Bahl’s script with Anvita Dutt’s dialogues are trite, immature, and lacking in original humour. In one scene, the families inadvertently get high on mushrooms and hash brownies. Bahl then creates another shockingly poor animated experience portraying the ‘trip’ these characters are on.

An overuse of CG, poor editing and absurd costumes, clichéd characters (a standard-issue gay son and bimbo twins included), and a complete waste of a big budget – it is sad to see a director nosedive after the resounding success of his last success. But Bahl appears to have little control over the large scenes and offers little direction to his young actors. Shahid Kapoor and Alia Bhatt stay on the same even keel throughout – their characters clearly saddled with shallow development and no graph. Bhatt is cute, that’s all she is and while the scenes between Shahid Kapoor and her are sweet enough, they too have little meat. The only sparkling scenes are the ones featuring Pankaj Kapur and Sanah Kapur, who makes an impressive debut and is fortunate to be awarded a couple of punchy scenes.

So what else works for Shaandaar, besides this clutch of performances? Not much besides Amit Trivedi’s music, but for that just buy the album. Save yourselves from this match made in hell.

Rating: *

Udita Jhunjhunwala

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