- BY SAHIL JOSHI
There is only one word that can perfectly describe Vikas Bahl's Shaandaar and that word is... shaandaar! The varied elements of this gorgeous looking film may not always work but the sheer scale and ambition of the movie bolstered by brilliant performances makes it a feature that’s hard to ignore.
The movie kicks off in the rolling fairytale land of Yorkshire where the grand Arora - Fundwani wedding is about to take place. Alia (Alia Bhatt) is introduced as the stereotypical adopted kid whose sister (Sanah Kapoor) is about to get married off to a mindless bozo as part of a business deal. And that's when Joginder (Shahid Kapoor) turns up as a wedding planner, and as expected Alia instantly falls in love with him while her father instantly hates his guts. What follows is a quirky romantic tale as the duo bond over the fact that they are both insomniacs. The crazy Sindhi wedding takes some rather unexpected turns even though the basic plot itself proves to be unimaginative and dull.
Shaandaar is an undoubtedly gorgeous looking film with ton of wacky visual elements to offer. At times the sheer scale and grandeur of the movie makes it seem like something out of Karan Johar's grandest dreams and one wouldn’t be wrong to call it a visual marvel. But sadly there is so much of style on display that it mostly overshadows the substance. The basic plot of the movie is very unimaginative and the screenplay doesn’t do a very good job of fleshing out all the elements. Long running jokes and gags don’t work as well as expected and often feel juvenile and silly. It feels like Shaandaar cannot make up its mind whether it wants to be a rom-com, a fairytale, a drama or an out and out laugh riot. Some of the humour sequences will have you in splits while others barely elicit a chuckle. And the drama elements also suffer a lot because of all the visual grandstanding that Vikas Bahl keeps throwing at us. There are moments when the makers expect us to get up and applaud but the best you can manage is an appreciative hum.
And yet, the lead actors are so compelling in their performances that you are ready to forgive all of that. Shahid and Alia seem like a match made in heaven and together, they deliver paisa-wasool entertainment. Pankaj Kapur is the cherry on the cake and his equation with Shahid and Alia is what binds this scattered film together. Shahid’s sister Sanah Kapoor makes a fantastic debut. She is adorable throughout the movie and we can’t wait to see where she goes from here. In fact, even Sanjay Kapoor seems to have found his dream role in the golden gun wielding Fundwani.
Amit Trivedi’s music is as spectacular as the visuals and the songs work very well in the movie. However, the background score does strike the wrong note occasionally. For instance one very humorous scene has heavy operatic undertones that somehow offsets the punchline.
Watch Shaandaar if you must and bring your family too, just don’t expect anything spectacular in terms of content. This is a formulaic feature with some outstanding visuals to offer in addition to a few amazing sequences. You may even love the film while you are watching it but there is little to take away from it. We shall go with 2 and a half stars for this film.