Rating: 3/5 Stars (Three stars)
Star cast: Farhan Akhtar, Vidya Balan, Vir Das, Ram Kapoor, Gautami, Ila Arun
Director: Saket Chaudhary
What’s Good: The unfeigned laughs, Vidya and Farhan and mostly the indelible realism that conjures up the crux of the story.
What’s Bad: The three tier fumbling tracks in the second half plagues it with proverbial myth of the failing post interval bit of the film.
Watch or Not?: In over two and half hours, the film manages to to patch up its hovels and vindicate the negatives quite effortlessly. Goes without saying that Saket quite succeeds in sending us home with many heartfelt laughs and an extensively enjoyable time. For slumps and hiccups there were many inconsistent elements including a few flat tracks and a dull second half, but the pulsating chemistry of Vidya Balan and Farhan Akhtar makes this one a hard to miss indulgence of sorts!
The film is the story of Sid Roy (Farhan Akhtar) and Trisha Malik Roy (Vidya Balan). Happily cocooned in their marriage, Trisha is free spirited, confident and Sid is a struggling musician who spends considerable effort and time in making jingles. After a night of heavy passion and a lot of scotch, Trisha gets pregnant. Initially a feeble hearted Sid, suddenly musters the courage to tread into fatherhood to avoid the side effects of IVF later on in their lives. And then the baby changed it all. Sid and Trisha had always kept their relationship very non confrontation-alist become victims of the side effects of shaadi and its by product – the baby. Sid distances himself from all the nagging by creating a separate world of his own, however, as fate would have it his string of white lies eventually comes out in the open. Can Sid and Trisha topple the side effects of their Shaadi and find love again?
I could feel my heartbeat dropping to below normal levels when I saw the opening scene of the film. Ripped off straight from Four Christmases, the scene nearly got me judgmental. Until Saket Chaudhary convinced us of why his Pyaar ke Side Effects became so impossible to dismiss despite its apparent and much visible flaws. His great understanding of characters and relationships is fetched well in the story and Saket manages to keep Sid and Trisha layered yet very relatable to a great extent even in this one.
The story kicks off on a high voltage note. Though thematically copied, the fantasy loving between couple and saying sorry even when it’s not your fault is used and tackled with intelligence. In an interview with Koimoi Balan had mentioned how she thought Saket’s vocabulary in the film was unparalleled. Oh Miss Balan, we agree. The script remained largely conversational, drawing the audiences towards it by being adorably engaging. Sid and Trisha’s relationship and marriage thrives greatly on Sid’s persistent attitude to evade confrontations and sticky conversations. However, the lack of proper communication between them begins to surface once their relationship changes dynamics and from being spouses they turn into parents. The story’s basic essence remains unchanged in spirit since its last edition but the form is definitely quite different.
Sid is no longer the commitment-phobic maniac we were introduced to then. He is a boy who has managed to settle down, strategised his way into finding happiness and security in both love and marriage. But it all falls out of place after a night of misplaced passion gets Trisha knocked up. Retaining the pregnancy for wrong reasons, approaching fatherhood with the incorrect vision and failing to elevate himself to the changed needs and priorities of his relationship pushes him into a strange dissatisfaction of sorts. I love the smooth yet minute detailing the filmmaker has paid heed to in terms of transforming Trisha from the confident seductress to the woman who forces herself into clothes which doesn’t fit her anymore only to please her husband who thinks she dress too practically.
But before you begin weaving tall expectations, the forewarning appears that post interval the story dilutes itself into something very muddled up. Throwing itself off track, getting trapped in the intricacies of melodrama, post intermission the plot turns very botched, self centered and horridly predictable. Characters like Manav and Aunty and Shekhar all fit the expected stereotypes whom Saket keeps cliched, thereby allowing them to dismantle a perfectly painted concept. It is only for the feeble writing of the second half that the film delivers a half baked story despite a charged Farhan and sincere Vidya struggling to keep it breezy.
Farhan Akhtar picks up a role perhaps quite different from what he seems to be and plays it to perfection in every frame. It is quite a challenge for an actor to master what isn’t his forte and Farhan is genuinely flawless in this role.
Vidya Balan’s irresistible enigma is what lures me about her. She makes even the nagging Trisha endearing and only an actress of her caliber can bring so many hues to a character which has the maximum risk of getting termed as caricature. She compliments Farhan by bringing on screen a potently refreshing chemistry at our disposal which holds through the screenplay even in its slack bits.
Ram Kapoor, Rati Agnihotri, Ila Arun and mostly Vir Das are all incorrigibly wasted. It takes some caliber to waste someone who possesses Vir Das’ prowess and the filmmaker does lamentably manage that.
Direction, Editing and Screenplay
Saket dazzles as the competent guy whose Pyaar Ke Side Effects had us sit up and notice an otherwise forgettable Mallika Sherawat in a role that defined her career technically. This time too, Saket consistently manages to have us rolling with laughter in the first half bouncing our way rapid and quick laughs. After a point my jaws began to pain from all the haha. Using well Farhan and Vidya’s understanding of impeccable comic timing, Saket relies on them too heavily to pull through his otherwise known and dull story. Following any other rulebook on marriage and relationships would have helped him get his way through this sloppily conceptualized story which has the regular rom-com ingredients. Thankfully for him, the film’s magical casting worked out in his favor or it could have turned its wind towards being shallow.
Instances of where his weaknesses erupt noticeably is the highly questionable scene where Farhan forgets his daughter at a coffee shop and goes back home. I mostly lost connect where Farhan splits his life into two distinct halves flourishing on lies. I won’t be prurient enough to object to it on moral grounds, but it came across as highly unconvincing. When Trisha finds out about Sid’s dual life, her reaction seemed exaggerated and blown far bit out of proportion. The film’s editing was again a wobbly department resulting in the product seeming a tad bit stretched pushing one towards boredom in the later half.
The Last Word
I never feel the need to justify my ratings and reviews but this time I feel I owe to this film and my readers. Frankly, I love the first half of the film. It was gripping and taut, though unoriginal, I thought it was magnificently done. The vivid and sparkling chemistry of Vidya and Farhan manage to hold you through tight and still. However, in the second half, the film begins a journey downhill, slipping vigorously slide by slide, getting schmaltzy quite unjustifiably. But in the end it still manages to deliver a product that is overall a surprising winner of sorts. Hence I am going with a lenient 3/5 for this film that deteriorates into settling for being average in the second half but for the stellar first hour cannot be missed. Hopefully Saket’s next is something more cleverly coherent and mostly consistent than this. Till then keep you expectations low and give this one a chance to entertain you!