Shuddh Desi Romance: Too ‘Rendom’

Shuddh Desi Romance, directed by Maneesh Sharma (Band, Baaja, Baraat and that other film), starts off with a quirky little song that goes ‘Chanchal mann, ati rendom’. In the next 2.5 hours, I realised that the song was actually a valid prediction, and not necessarily in a good way. Because although the film is seeped in randomness, it is the kind of randomness in which you manage to find a pattern and that kind of spoils the show. Shuddh Desi Romance

SDR is about four primary characters. Raghu Ram (Sushant Singh Rajput, quite good), Gayatri (Parineeti Chopra, getting brilliant with every film), Tara (Vaani Kapoor, not bad for a debut) and Goyal ji (Rishi Kapoor, fabulous as usual). Like the Brownian particles, these are four randomly floating characters. Other than Gayatri, no other character seems to have any back-story or even kith and kin. They all begin to move randomly and start colliding with each other in the serene and splendid Jaipur (captured beautifully by Manu Anand). Raghu is set to marry Tara in an ‘arranged’ set up, falls in ‘love’ with Gayatri (his ‘gentry’ sister-in-rent on a contract with Goyal ji, the wedding planner/broker) within a couple of hours of meeting her, runs away from the mandap and sets in motion a chain of inexplicable and, you-guessed-it-right, random events that flows through previously uncharted territories of Hindi films.

Speaking of flow, SDR is thoroughly brilliant in its flow of dialogues. All the characters talk as real people do. Which is refreshing in this day and age when characters seem to have an urge to turn their back at each other and wax out the roted dialogues. Jaideep Sahni (Rocket Singh, Khosla ka Ghosla etc.) sets the right mood with his dialogues and is quite surely the star of the show. In fact, the dialogues and the cinematography are so good that they make the niggling faults of the script seem like massive earthquakes.

Sushant Singh Rajput plays a role that seems to have been written for Emraan Hashmi and rejected by Ranveer Singh. In fact, at quite a few places, he sounds distinctly like the Bittu character from Band, Baaja, Baraat. He does a fairly decent job which is great considering that he has been given absolutely no background to explain his intentions. I believe that the director also sensed this problem of unexplained intentions and hence inserted separators where the characters break the imaginary fourth wall and talk directly to the audience in order to explain what is going on in their heads. These really don’t work on all occasions. Parineeti Chopra looks beautiful and handles the comic as well as serious outbursts like a pro. She is definitely one actress to watch out for. It is also very endearing to see a Hindi film actress who seems to be proficient in her Hindi. Vaani Kapoor makes a very competent debut and there are flashes where she proves that she is more than just a PYT. Rishi Kapoor, although he looks too regal for a small time Rajasthani marriage broker, does a fabulous job and gives a lot of credibility to the film on the whole.

SDR is at the end of the day, a Yash Raj production and that is very evident in all the technical departments. Music by Sachin-Jigar is quite good and is complemented well by the lyrics of Jaideep Sahni (Chaddar khaddar ki, armaan hain resham ke… nice touch!). The quality of production is top-notch including those of the mandatory Yash Raj OTT wedding sequences.

Shuddh Desi Romance could have been 2013’s Band, Baaja, Baraat or Oye Lucky, Lucky Oye had its randomness been more intriguing and interesting rather than bewildering. In its present form, it is an entertaining one-time watch and that is somewhat disappointing. I enjoy romantic films where I identify with the characters and root for them, where I smile and cry along with them. Towards the end of SDR (which is tediously long, by the way), I stopped caring about who ends up with whom. This is quite a pity.

Verdict: 6/10

P.S.: The name ‘Shuddh Desi Romance’ is quite a misnomer and can lead to an embarrassing experience if you decide to take your parents along with you. The now-famous 27 kissing scenes are very much there and the idea of ready-to-serve live-in relationships might not go down well with those having conservative stomachs.

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