'Shaandaar' review: As bizarre as it is beautiful!

'Shaandaar' review: As bizarre as it is beautiful!

Source: General

By: Sonia Chopra

Critic's Rating: 3/5

Friday 23 October 2015

Movie Title

'Shaandaar' review: As bizarre as it is beautiful!


Vikas Bahl

Star Cast

Shahid Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Sanah Kapoor

Flitting wildly between fairy-tale charm and downright absurdity, the one quality thatShaandaar maintains is its inconsistency. It has as many fun moments as dull, as manyclever parts as odd ones, and candy-crush humour packed with some serious darkcomedy.

An animated, flashback portion shows Vipin (Pankaj Kapoor) bringing home an orphangirl named Alia. Despite his mother and wife's coldness, the little girl survives. Sheforms a bond with Vipin's other daughter Isha (Sanah Kapoor).

In present time, Vipin's family, living in a gorgeous castle, has gathered to celebrateIsha's wedding. The bossy family matriarch (played delightfully by Sushma Seth) stilltakes digs at Alia (Alia Bhatt) being an adopted child, which the young girl takes on thechin.

Isha's groom and his family arrive and turn out to be gold-obsessed, obnoxious peoplewho keep reiterating that they are Sindhi (the recurrent flat joke). Enter our heroJagjinder Joginder (Shahid Kapoor) who happens to be the wedding organizer, andtakes an instant shine to Alia.

The film's Disney-esque references to cult fairy-tales are adequately clever. Contrary toSleeping Beauty, here, Alia's character is an insomniac and waiting for a prince to puther to sleep. When that happens, the sleep wave travels through the castle, gettingeven jungle animals to doze-off. Then there's the clever frog and dragonfly symbolismand the fantastical castle.

For a beautiful scene such as the above, you get plenty of bizarre. Like the scene wherethe wedding party gets high on mushrooms. This translates to a totally trippy scenewhere one character imagines they are flying (no holds-barred animation here), whilethe other bumps off imaginary live alphabets. Scenes like this ramble on and on, andone wishes they were curtailed. Another portion that comes to mind is the qawalli thatgets transformed into a strange gender battle. And the flashback scene where acharacter's extra-marital affair is actually portrayed as a triumph.

Director Vikas Bahl (also co-producer and co-writer) is known for last year's much-lovedQueen. It's surprising that the filmmaker, who made Rani's character so nuanced andwove us masterfully into her world, has chosen to keep Shaandaar's characters hollowand one-dimensional. Both Alia and Isha, for example, seem to float in a vacant space,where they don't have friends, outside interests, or a professional life.

Bahl talks about how the overweight bride is discriminated again, but does exactly thesame with the character. Apart from getting continuously humiliated (her blouse ripsopen, the groom insults her), she's portrayed as a spineless glutton who's alwaysheaping her plate. This character is not allowed a single empowering moment, andwhen she finally has a turnaround, it seems like half-hearted tokenism.

Interestingly, the film is obsessed with bodies. Apart from the bride's weight that takesup a sizeable portion of the film, we have the workout-obsessed groom, Alia Bhattlooking fab in a bikini, and then a slow-mo recreation of her stripping down to the bikini through the closing credits.

The film is most fun when we get to watch Shahid and Alia's crackerjack chemistry.Shahid is smooth as the charming Mr. Fix It. And Alia has the gum-chewing, irreverentbrat act down pat. It's a treat to watch her trademark sprightly and spontaneous style.Shahid Kapoor's sister Sanah makes an impressive debut and is often the scene-stealer.

As a cohesive whole, the film is a merry mess. Shaandaar, then, is a peculiar film - tobe enjoyed for its beautiful moments, and to be endured for its bizarre ones.

Rating: 2.5 stars

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