Starring Hema Malini, Rajkummar Rao, Rakul Preet Singh
Directed by Ramesh Sippy
Rating: **(2 stars)
Rajkummar Rao never fights shy of playing shy characters. There is an innate diffidence in his personality that renders itself effectively to characters who are afraid of expressing themselves lest they get hurt.
This time it’s the audience that gets hurt. Badly. Don’t get me wrong. Five years ago maverick moviemaking genius Ramesh Sippy (he once upon a time made a small film called Sholay) made a teekhi, tadka-wali romantic film about tender misalliances. It was all about Raj falling for Rakul Preet Singh(her makeup, attitude all wrong) whose mom Hema Malini misreads the love signals
One fine day in January 2020 the producers decided to release the damn thing anyhow. Why would they do this disservice to three such talented souls Sippy, Rao and Hema Malini? That’s another story altogether.
But what we see here is an interesting tangle within a triangle wherein the characters look hopelessly out of sync with today’s times. It is like doing a disco to a tango beat. Even worse, the mythical Hema Malini is completely miscast as a skittish, coquettish flirty Mom who wants marriage and probably what follows thereafter(no one mentions sex for women who are above 60 in our films).
I would have liked this film far more if, say, Kirron Kher or Lilette Dubey played the predatory matriarch. But the Dream Girl, the ultimate unattainable beauty, chasing a dream just didn’t make any sense. Dammit, she has everything already. Why would she behave like Mrs Robinson in a gaudy saree? It’s like the Helen Of Troy chasing Allauddin Khilji.
If you are really interested in seeing a dignified film about an older woman falling in love with a young man, I recommend Guru Dutt’s production Baharen Phir Bhi Ayengi with Elder Sister Mala Sinha falling in love with her kid-sister Tanuja’s boyfriend, played by Hema Malini’s real-life Significant Other Dharmendra.
Small world. Alas, as the globe shrinks the vision of Hindi filmmakers also shrinks. Shimla Mirchi could have been an updated version of The Graduate. Instead, all it can do with its romantic misalliance is giggle about it.