Bhansali films are back with another love story with a difference and this time its Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s sister, Bela Bhansali making her debut as a director. Thankfully she chooses a rather difficult, unconventional and interesting subject of ‘A Late Marriage’ of more than 40 years old couple who couldn’t find their soul mates till now due to their own personal reasons. The merit of the film is its novel theme for the Indian viewers which talks about an issue that can now be easily considered as a part of our society since the last decade.
With the changing norms of our living standards, young boys and girls are seriously not interested in marriage till the late 20s and early 30s due to the preferences given to their individual careers and ambitions. Though the film doesn’t talk about any youngsters here but it still revolves around the same issue wherein its two leading characters (in their 40s) are yet not married due to their own family responsibilities and problems. Therefore the plot might not be completely alien or offbeat for all the youngsters watching the film along with the matured audience.
Primarily promoted as a comedy, SHIRIN FARHAD KI TOH NIKAL PADI serves the purpose pretty well in its first half. It does make you smile, laugh and even embarrasses the viewer in a funny manner with its few sequences related with Boman’s undergarments shop. So one feels like being fairly entertained in its initial reels until it reaches the intermission where its story takes the same seen before kind of turn involving the mother. Hence post interval it simply becomes a jumble of both good and bad moments which are not able to entertain the viewer in the same manner as successfully done by its first half.
Now the major reason of this sliding down remains its easily predictable plot which loses the grip once the audiences know that what is going to happen next. Till they don’t have the clue about its basic storyline, they enjoy it thoroughly. But once it moves down to the same ages old path, the film fails to deliver and is not able to make any kind of major impact on the viewer. Moreover the absurd sequences towards the end, like the father waking up from the coma and the gas trouble faced by an old man really put you off and one loses his interest in watching it further.
Here the point which needs to be raised is that, when Indian Viewers are ready to accept new concepts and ideas as proved by many recent hits, then what’s the need of ruining a good movie by inserting the same old twists & turns leading towards a typical Hindi film climax unnecessarily? Bela’s first venture here is undoubtedly a fine attempt by a debutant made on an unusual subject but why she hesitated to tackle it differently in its second half remains questionable. Either she had no faith in her target audience or she simply bowed down to the commercial elements involved in film business today as it seems. But whatever be the reason, she really missed the opportunity of making a fine film unarguably.
SFKTNP also catches your instant attention due to its surprising cast featuring Boman Irani and Farah Khan (the famous director, chorographer and TV reality show judge) as its leading couple in love. However out of the two, Boman once again scores the maximum with a worth watching performance of a middle aged lonely Parsi looking for his lady love from years. It’s his second Parsi character in continuation after FERRARI KI SAWAARI and he is truly exceptional and a delight to watch as always. Farha Khan on the other hand, looks exactly like her character on screen, performs well and entertains confidently in her first lead role as an actress. Yet I also felt as if she was doing it too casually taking it just like a fun assignment for a change. At times she is a complete natural but in some scenes it seems like she really doesn’t care about the end result on the screen. So I was in a strong doubt that whether she was in fact the right choice for this role or not. In the supporting cast both Daisy Irani and Shammi Aunty are simply adorable and make their presence felt throughout.
Musically, the film could have easily done with only its fine title song being repeated in the background. But as per the Hindi film routine it does have few average tracks which sadly don’t impress or move the story further. Cinematography and Background score just supports the movie’s theme as required but dialogues don’t really work when the writers try to be over funny in few sequences of its second half.
Coming to the title of this review mentioning an OSCAR winner movie, the Bhansali banner continues with their decades old trend of making inspired films borrowing the basic plot of their script from a World Classic. This time its Delbert Mann’s directed MARTY released in 1955 which also won the Academy Award for THE BEST MOVIE due to its honest portrayal of a lonely middle aged man looking for a life partner. In MARTY too there is man with a heavy built up, who is fast passing through his 30s and is yet not able to find his perfect life partner for various reasons. He lives with his mother and wishes to buy the shop he is currently working in as a salesman. The film also has the characters of his aunt and a friend who keep pushing him for getting married fast. And when he meets the right lady, he goes through a character transformation within days, which remains the main focus of this realistic classic featuring Ernest Borgnine in the lead.
Admittedly SFKTNP is not a blatant version of MARTY as you might be thinking. But it does take its basic elements from the same, changes the settings to PARSI characters and then adds all the Hindi Film gimmicks to it in order to make it a spicy dish ready to be served to its Indian viewers starving for something different. In true words, this was again a good choice of subject by SLB films to be presented before us following their own style of film-making. But I really wish Bela had made it more artistically keeping the core essence of the plot intact.
However in its present avatar, (in all possibilities) the Parsi community may not like the movie whole heartedly, as it portrays them more like some eccentric people living their lives in a distinctive manner away from the normal. I personally loved and still remember watching PESTON JEE as one of the best films made around a Parsi character. Plus the recent FERRARI KI SAWAARI was a decent one too. But somehow that decency seems to be lost in this latest flick and I didn’t really enjoy the community’s portrayal in it at a personal level. Still for the common viewer, the film can only be rated as an average entertainer which probably would work more when you will be watching it on the channels or Home Video without spending much of your money and efforts.