Written by Manisha Lakhe on October 18, 2018
The film is about middle class Delhi at its weirdest best: nosey neighbours, judgemental relatives, small claustrophobic homes, quirky characters… And funny one liners about life that make you smile. Yes, there’s grown up parents who are freshly pregnant and the son is embarrassed. But if you’ve seen the trailer, nothing more happens in the film. It drags on and on until you lose the smiles. Surekha Sikri, Gajraj Rao, Neena Gupta are such phenomenal actors they carry the film, but everything else, including their grown up son Ayushman Khurana lets this film down.
‘Ayushman Khurana is like yesteryear’s Amol Palekar’, someone commented and had you not watched the film Andhadhun last week, you would have agreed. He’s made the sad sack, the whole world is against me character his dream job.
So Aushman discovers that his parents Gajraj Rao and Neena Gupta are going to be parents again. It’s funny when the awesome Surekha Sikri blows her top about ‘Hum do hamare do’ without feeling awkward at all. It’s delightful when the parents read poetry to each other, cannot stop giving each other shy ‘looks’ at a family wedding, and yet manage to fight gently with each other. This kind of a gentle relationship is rarely seen in Bollywood, and you appreciate that. You laugh out loud because the doctor is called ‘Bagga’ (his surname) and his wife (also a doctor) is called ‘Buggy’ instead of the expected ‘Mrs. Bagga’ which in the local Hindi sounds hilarious.
What is so difficult to swallow is that middle class North Indians – where people have many kids – are shown to be so judgemental about having a kid after a gap. Let’s say you buy into the fact that the whole neighborhood is appalled at the idea of an older woman having a baby, then what? How long does the son wander about embarrassed? For two hours plus, of course! While you fall in love with the mother in law played by Surekha Sikri, the parents, you begin hating the son. Why is he so crotchety? It’s not like they stopped him from romancing the girl who obviously comes from a better economic background. It’s not like they did not give them enough freedom. In fact, you idly wonder what the pretty girl (Sanya Malhotra) sees in the morose middle class lad.
The film is so tedious to watch, you wish there were more scenes like how the dad reacts to Sanya visiting their home and begins to speak in English… Apologies for the spoiler, but there is very little in the film to make you spend multiplex money. The lad realises his mistake, and everything’s well and there is that mandatory wedding/engagement dance as you breathe a sigh of relief. But you come away wishing Bollywood would make a movie with Surekha Sikri, Gajraj Singh and Neena Gupta. And that Ayushman Khurana would stop acting in the same out-of-luck-lad role in his films.
(this review appears on www.nowrunning.com)