Review of ‘Shaadi Ke Side Effects’

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A highly average movie with very low production values. The dialogue which is also average fare keeps the movie going.

The movie has been produced by Pritish Nandy Communications and Balaji Films. The writer/director is Saket Choudhary who has also made the Part one of this movie, Pyar Ke Side Effects. Pyar Ke Side Effects was a quirky, funny rom-com which was quite satisfactory and even nice. However this sequel doesn’t quite add up.

The story of the sequel begins with a married couple, and moves on to how they cope with the arrival of a child and how this affects them, and in particular the husband. I imagine the movie is about that. As ultimately it does feel like the movie is about nothing, definitely nothing more than an episodic adventure of a married couple. A deeply flawed married couple at that, or maybe just badly written.

I do think that films with a low budget can still have excellent production values. Many films come to mind here. And the sub-standard visuals of this movie that add to our pain aren’t very forgivable.

The story itself leaves one dissatisfied. None of the narratives are explored to any extent, and after a point one would have started to get annoyed with the continued, consistent and frankly boring angst of the husband, which is what is explored throughout the movie, if it was not for the unassuming and earnest performance put in by Farhan Akhtar. You do stay with him throughout the movie. However much you want to sock him in the eye for his lack of any kind of relationship with his child!

The commitment phobic male unsure of being a father is a great plot for a movie and it has been used often enough with great success. ‘Nine Months’ of Hugh Grant comes immediately to mind. ‘He Is Just Not That Into You’, ‘Juno’ are some other movies that come to mind. Although there must be hundreds more! And for one of the very beautiful, deeply delved into exploration, there is ‘The Hours’ albeit from a female perspective. A reluctance however to delve into the characters except as caricatures of urban myths, lets us down quite badly in this movie.

Vidya Balan is not someone I have enjoyed watching a lot. And the same continues with this movie. But the one factor that binds both the lead actors is that they are what we have today as an alternative to the star system that exists in Indian movies. These guys are able to or are given the opportunity to become just the characters. They have become synonymous with, and champions of, the half-commercial/half-independent movies.  They aren’t great substitutes for Amol Palekar, Deepti Naval, the charming Farooque Sheikh, Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri, Smita Patil, Shabana Azmi and so on. And so to expect anything more spectacular than what they give us here is a wasteful exercise.

However, the ultimate downer in this movie remains to be the story and writing. A very mediocre effort. More than that this was not a very needed sequel to the original Pyar Ke Side Effects. It comes a few years too late and isn’t that funny.

This can be a big time miss. Better to wait for it come on TV.  Even then, only if you want to.

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