The most refreshing thing about Bela Bhansali Sehgal’s debut film Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi is that it is a romantic story about too normal, middle-aged, lonely people looking for love.
Boman Irani and Farah Khan play the ages they look – over 40. The entire story is set firmly in a middle class Parsi milieu offering work to almost every single Parsi actor you might recall.
Boman Irani plays an undergarment salesman Farhad Pastakia with endearing sincerity. After all he knows this world well – of the aging single Parsi man who lives with his “over-loving” mother (Daisy Irani) and grandmother (Shammiji) in a Parsi colony. Some of the supporting actors could well be his distant relatives!
Perhaps the only real flaw in his performance is his lip synch to the songs.
Farhad is looking for a wife and he believes he has found his life partner in Shirin Fuggawala, who also turns out to be the secretary of the Parsi Trust who is at loggerheads with Farhad’s mummy.
Farah Khan is awkward, ill at ease and self-conscious in most scenes but in a few she sparkles. Overall though, she’s likely to continue being far more accomplished behind the camera than in front of it.
While the story is pretty much about meek Farhad finding his mojo, and making the one choice all men dread – between mother and girlfriend, there is also an irritating track about an Indira Gandhi obsessed neighbour.
In fact most of the humour is forced and lacks the punch and sharp wit we associate with the Parsi community. In fact, writer Sanjay Leela Bhansali leans too heavily on stereotypes.
The narrative is bogged down by the inclusion of Bollywood style songs – one a tribute to movies like Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Hum Aapke Hain Kaun and Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge and another, a ‘sad’ song called ‘Kaafir andhere’ which does not match the mood and tone of the movie at all.
In short, the film is sweet but uneven.