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'Shaandaar:' Not really!

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Director Vikas Bahl has made a wedding movie of 146-minute duration. But, at the same time, he wants to be different from similar ‘wedding videos’ made in the past. After all, a comparison to the pioneer wedding movie, Hum Aapke Hain Kaun would be inevitable. To avoid this, Bahl tries to treat his film in a fairytale style. To this end, the film has been shot in a huge country side palace. The film even starts with Naseeruddin Shah narrating what is to follow a la ‘once upon a time’.

Sushma Seth is a billionaire tycoon occupying the palace with her family of three sons, a daughter-in-law and the older son Pankaj Kapur’s two daughters, Sanah Kapoor and Alia Bhatt; Alia being an adopted child. Pankaj and his two brothers as well as the rest of the family are totally under Sushma’s thumb. She rules the palace like her own domain and its inhabitants like her slaves.

Sushma has made it to the cover page of Forbes magazine but also sharing the cover with her is her relative to be, Sanjay Kapoor, who goes by the name of Fundwani. He is also a local tycoon. The wedding between Sanjay’s son and Sanah is actually a business deal for Sushma for her enterprise has gone broke and she expects this liaison with Sanjay’s family to give her bank balance some stability.

For Sanjay, being a Sindhi is the ultimate thing to be and all those who are successful, including Queen Elizabeth and Michael Jackson are, in fact, Sindhi. Sanjay wears a huge pendant with the dollar sign, which he says stands for Sindhi. Well, that is meant to be the comic content in the film.

Sushma wants the wedding to be a big tamasha and has appointed Shahid Kapoor to manage the event. Shahid has his first encounter with Pankaj and, soon enough, with Alia. Love happens at first sight. The rest of the film is about Shahid and Alia coming closer while Pankaj does his best to keep them part. All this while the rest of the wedding programme, including the sangeet, mehndi etc, takes place in the background. An attempt is made to make it funny by having Karan Johar in a cameo to compere Mehndi with Karan. Actually, there is nothing worthwhile happening in the film.

The film has no story to tell and tries to weave this wedding video with a series of gags (poor), song-and-dance numbers and useless nothings. The attempt to give the fairytale touch to the story does not work despite gimmicks like bringing in a frog called Ashok or even choreographing a song in a Dick Tracy kind of setting. Some secrets tumble out through the course of the story. Sanjay himself is on the verge of bankruptcy and expects to benefit with this wedding deal into Sushma’s family. Meanwhile, Alia is actually Pankaj’s own daughter born out of an affair he had while training as a pilot.

Scripting is very poor and patchy. Direction lacks imagination and the outcome is juvenile. The film has two hummable songs in Shaam saaandar…. and Nazdeekiyaan; a variety has been tried in song presentations to little effect. Editing needed to be crisper. Visually, efforts are made to give the film a pleasant look.

No actor has a defined role to make an impression. While Pankaj is a pleasure to watch, Shahid and Alia play the usual romantic pair, Sanjay sticks to buffoonery. Of the rest, Sanah does well.

Shaandaar caters to low IQ viewers which, at prevailing tickets rates, will be hard to find.

Producers: Anurag Kashyap, Vikramditya Motwane, Karan Johar, Madhu Mantena.

Director: Vikas Bahl

Cast: Shahid Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Pankaj Kapur, Sanjay Kapoor, Sanah Kapoor, Sushma Seth, Karan Johar (cameo).

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