Film Review: 'Shaadi Ke Side Effects'
Opened: 28 February 2014
Cast: Farhan Akhtar, Vidya Balan, Ram Kapoor, Vir Das, Rati Agnihotri, Ila Arun.
Director: Saket Chaudhary
Producers: Ekta Kapoor, Shobha Kapoor, Pritish Nandy
The season of new age romcoms continues post Hasee Toh Phasee, with this, the story of a couple struggling to keep their relationship afloat, amidst the typical pitfalls that come with marriage — an unwanted pregnancy, an over friendly neighbour, a cynical mother in law and a contemporary guy stuck in a rut and going through your average mid life crisis.
There’s nothing here we haven’t seen before and yet Saket Chaudhary’s Shaadi Ke Side Effects works (albeit in parts), due to the warm chemistry between its lead pair, some genuinely laugh inducing moments, and Farhan Akhtar who seems to have perfected the art of playing modern day, cool characters.
The film begins with a smug Sid (Farhan), who thrives on relaying the secrets of his successful marriage with Trisha (Vidya Balan) to men not so fortunate as himself — husbands struggling to keep their nagging wives at bay effectively. His formula is simple. Always accept that you’re wrong, apologise and use ploys like reverse psychology with your respective spouses and presto! You have a hassle free marriage.
His seemingly fool proof tactics go for a toss, however, when Trisha announces that she’s pregnant, and despite Sid not being too hot on the idea, the couple go ahead and have the child anyway. What follows is your run of the mill differences, from Sid craving the attention of his distracted wife, who’s now devoted to being a full time mum, to him yearning and reminiscing about his youth — a time when things were footloose and fancy free. How their relationship suffers as a result of Sid’s extreme and somewhat selfish measures, form the crux of the story.
Saket Chaudhary brings some fresh and witty moments to the film (especially in the first half), and most married couples will relate to the complexities and hurdles that Sid and Trisha’s marriage encounters. On a side note, the more television savvy among us will instantly recognise several situations from popular American sitcoms like Sex and The City, and the scenes like the hunt to find the perfect nanny from Friends.
Alas all of the director's work in the rocking first half comes undone in the second half when the film begins to drag considerably — especially in its penultimate reels, and tests your patience at an over indulgent two and a half hours.
The main problem with Shaadi Ke Side Effects is that the story refuses to move beyond a certain point, especially after redundant characters like Sid's newly found 'bro' (Vir Das), are introduced to the plot and don’t really add much to the film overall. A lot of this time could have perhaps been devoted to how Trisha struggles with the pressures of motherhood, or how she felt abandoned by an overtly irresponsible husband. That would have given Vidya's character far more depth.
Of the remaining supporting players, Ram Kapoor plays his part well, Ila Arun is competent enough, while Rati Agnihotri is criminally wasted and should have been given far more to do.
A film like Shaadi Ke Side Effects relies heavily on chemistry between its leads and in the hands of amateurs the film would have fallen over. Farhan and Vidya however, are pros and have a warm, spontaneous equation between them that see the film through it’s more tedious parts. Farhan especially, gives his character a certain level of relatability, but despite valiant efforts on her part, our hearts never really go out to Vidya's character (perhaps due to the way it's written).
My other major niggle was with the climax which, after its interesting twist (which comes far too late) turns out to be deceptive and a bit of a cop out.
That said and done, I’m going with three stars for Shaadi Ke Side Effects. Flaws aside, it’s still a decent one time watch and fun while it lasts, and has Farhan Akhtar and a sparkling first half as its trump cards. It’s just a shame at least twenty minutes of it wasn’t snipped at the editing table.
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