From the writer of Chak De! India and the director of Band Baaja Baaraat comes a modern desi love story.
A Random Desi Romance
No country's cinema has more thoroughly plumbed the complications of love than India's, so it's surprising that there can be anything new to say. And yet Maneesh Sharma's Shuddh Desi Romance feels remarkably fresh. In fact, for anyone raised on Bollywood's classic love stories, this contemporary take may prove delightfully shocking.
It begins with Gayatri, played by charismatic rising star Parineeti Chopra. An entirely modern woman, she has a particularly skeptical perspective on love and marriage. That may be because of her unusual work experience: she is occasionally paid to be a wedding guest, hired by families wishing to inflate the number of attendees for the sake of appearances.
At one ceremony she meets Raghu (Sushant Singh Rajput); the two will be performing the roles of distant relations. Matching each other quip for quip like lovers in a screwball comedy, they soon find themselves romantically entangled. But because each is so sure they're too smart for an old-fashioned courtship, their love story takes startling, unconventional turns.
Sharma, the director of Band Baaja Baaraat, builds a classic love triangle among Raghu, Gayatri and rival Tara (Vaani Kapoor) but keeps shifting the balance. Drawing charming, natural performances from Chopra, Rajput, and Kapoor, he sets the tale against gorgeous Jaipur locations, and peppers the film with engaging supporting players (legendary actor Rishi Kapoor is delightful as a moustachioed villain).
Festival 2012's City to City spotlight on Mumbai revealed new daring in that city's independent filmmakers. That energy has clearly proven infectious. A film like Shuddh Desi Romance, made to entertain a wide audience with its vibrant romance and music, still finds ways to question the old conventions, and reflect the changing nature of relationships in India today.