Bollywood review: It's not Shahid or Alia who steal the 'Shaandaar' show

It’s debutant Sanah Kapoor who blissfully and elegantly outshines the rest of the mad marriage party

The big fat Indian wedding has always fascinated Bollywood filmmakers, with every director adding their distinct flavour to the festivities. From the extravagant musicals ‘Hum Apke Hai Kaun’ to ‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Ghum’, to the more grounded ‘Monsoon Wedding’ and ‘Band Baaja Baraat’, there’s been no real dearth of movies that put the spotlight on the celebrations.

While the theme evidently lacks novelty, it was intriguing to see how director Vikas Bahl, who showcased glimpses of wedding fun in his spectacular ‘Queen’, pitched his second innings on a desi destination wedding.

He ropes in his ‘Queen’ writer team - Chaitally Parmar (story) and Anvita Dutt (dialogue and screenplay) and hopes to create magic.

They texture it like a fairytale, complete with a frog that thankfully doesn’t speak or turn into a prince, a Cinderalla, who’s stubbornly sleepless, and a narrative that turns into an amateur cartoon strip twice, when in flashback.

Alas, the incoherently sluggish narrative never hooks us. Characters slip in and out of the frame, gleefully flashing their quirkiness and secrets, but never allowing us to root for them.

And that’s a shame, considering there’s the gifted Pankaj Kapur, who always leaves us in splits with his antics, and the legendary Sushma Seth, who tickles us with her audacious act. Even the younger and glamorous Alia Bhatt and Shahid Kapoor are indisputably top-notch, each outdoing the other in performance (and dancing).

But, it’s the new Kapoor kid on the block, Sanah who steals the thunder as the effortlessly delightful bride weighed in by her family troubles.

In fact, it’s the Kapoor clan who walk away with top honours. As you watch the real father-son duo lock horns and set the screen on fire, you sense what a great movie this could’ve been.

Set in a quaint nook of England, ‘Shaandaar’ unfolds in a majestic castle as it is being readied for an opulent wedding. Apart from the dancing, dressing up and lots of delicious food, there’s a business deal waiting to be sealed, a romance that’s brewing, and family secrets waiting to be unearthed.

But, unlike any other Bollywood wedding party, this one’s filled with weird characters. Sanjay Kapoor is left to flaunt his greed for bling, guns, and love for his Sindhi brothers, but he never pulls it off. Some of his funnier moments, however, find its way to the end, when the credits roll. Even his reel kid “bro” is packed with the abs and protein shake, but no real talent. The shockers, however, were the twins, who despite finding an uncanny resemblance to the girls in ‘My Bestfriend’s Wedding’, were truly amusing.

Karan Johar also steps in to play himself and endorse his brand of wedding dramas and play his compatibility quiz, but the exercise appears tacky and tedious.

There’s a crackling moment when the father tries to convince his daughter, dressed in her wedding finery, that they must both run away from the madness. Anupam Kher had cracked a similar stunt in ‘Dil Hai Ki Manta Nahi’, one that Pankaj Kapur outdoes in ‘Shaandaar’. Unfortunately, the movie doesn’t let him soar.
 

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