Banners: Bholenath Movies, Cinekorn Entertainment
Producers: Bharat Patel, Kalapi Nagada
Director: Sanjay Chhel
Cast: Paresh Rawal, Rishi Kapoor, Vir Das, Payal Ghosh, Prem Chopra, Bharti Achrekar, Divya Sheth
Writer: Sanjay Chhel
Music: Lalit Pandit, Uttank Vora
So The timing couldn’t have been worse. Just when Hindi cinema is experimenting with inventive and progressive concepts, from women oriented films to dramas with a social message, we have a film that is regressive, amateurish and even a little cringe-worthy. Sanjay Chhel’s Patel Ki Punjabi Shaadi showed us a colourful trailer featuring many stalwarts, promising a potentially funfilled entertainer. But alas! What we see on the big screen is those award-winning legends trying to save a very weak script with an even weaker dialogue. The worst part is, it doesn’t work.
The story, written by Chhel himself, begins when Guggi Tandon (Rishi Kapoor) shifts to Mumbai with his obnoxiously loud Punjabi clan and moves into a Gujarati neighborhood, right opposite the very orthodox Hasmukh Patel (Paresh Rawal), who hates Punjabis. The difference in their lifestyles affects both sides.
In the middle of this, Guggi’s son Monty Tandon (Vir Das) and Patel’s daughter Pooja (Payal Ghosh) fall in love with each other. Monty takes the typical North Indian route and basically stalks Pooja, and, of course, she totally falls for it. But Pooja, a girl who is pacified by playing dandiya when her dreams of studying further are crushed, tells Monty that her father will not approve. Shocking, isn’t it!
The story then takes a turn to a very poor, Gujarati man’s version of Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge for a while, when Monty tries to impress Patel with his new ‘good boy’ image. He helps Patel prep to win a not-so-subtle rip-off game show of KBC, called KKC – Kiski Kismat Chamki (which apparently is a piece of cake). The film then predictably proceeds to how the love story and the rift between the two families leads to a long-drawn climax. Let’s focus on the good things first. Paresh Rawal and Rishi Kapoor obviously put on a strong performance in all the roles they play, especially when their characters are tailor-made for them as they are in this film. A special mention to Prem Chopra and Bharti Achrekar as they try to give us some laughs in the first half with their adorable flirty scene. As for the young couple in the film, one wishes they had half the zest as their elders do. The punch lines throughout the film are weak but still have some power thanks to the experienced actors who deliver them.
Some Gujarati-Punjabi traits are funnily exploited, but the script often goes overboard. Like Paresh Rawal’s character as the rigid father is offensive in this modern day era, where he doesn’t even allow his daughter to go to college to get a degree. Why, he forbids her to leave her hair open and tells her that there are only three things important in a girl’s life: “Look, book and cook.” Rishi Kapoor’s role is not far from the stereotypical Punjabi, that is, the basic affinity for alcohol, chicken and girls.
There are several other flaws in the film like unwanted songs. There are too many continuity problems in the movie and it is jarring. This tends to alienate the audience.
Performance-wise, Paresh Rawal is good. Rishi Kapoor is fantastic and funny. Vir Das is just about okay. Newcomer Payal Ghosh needs to brush up her acting skills. Prem Chopra and Bharti Achrekar add many fun moments to the film. Divya Seth is decent. Shilpa Shinde’s item song fails to entertain. The others lend adequate support.