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Band Baaja Baaraat

This film is from a banner that’s been churning out full-on family entertainment for close to three decades. But then, that’s Yash Raj Films for you.

This film begins with the female protagonist saying, “Agar plates kam pad gaye toh uncleji mujh par chadhenge.” And you’ve got to pinch yourself to believe you’re watching a Yash Raj Film!

It’s been said the impact of a love story depends on how it is presented. Other recent romantic dramas like I Hate Luv Storys and Aisha, revolved around either a young man or a woman who is confused about love. Band Baaja Baaraat is no different. And if you’re thinking the Delhi backdrop will make a difference, remember the fate of Aisha and Break Ke Baad?

About the film per se, right from the word go, the girl decides that love should not get in the way of her career. But as in every other Hindi movie, girl falls for boy. The twist is, the girl discovers her love for the boy after spending a night with him though it’s only a one-night stand for the boy. Ouch, casting couch!

It’s easy to see that the concept is borrowed from Hollywood’s The Wedding Planner (of late, Yash Raj Films is inspired either by Hollywood or their own past). Nothing wrong with that as long as there’s something original.

OK, so reel life is often a contrast of real life. Still, spare us the inanities and definitely don’t insult our intelligence. How on the earth can a novice at business become very, very, very, very (add as many “verys” you like) successful in a year or two? And when they decide to part ways, each goes bankrupt (faster than the US slump, post-recession. Again Yash Raj is inspired by the US of A). Sigh!

About the story, the boy has no inspiration; he simply wants to enjoy life. He doesn’t believe in going back to his village and looking after his farming agricultural business. (By the way, the movie spans four to five years and more than two hours but you see him with his family only once). But the boy is impressed with the girl and goes on to woo her. He ends up as her partner in the wedding planner business. In no time, they set up a successful business and even perform at the weddings they organise.

JUST IMAGINE: The bride wants Shah Rukh Khan to perform at her wedding and our wedding planner says he’s swung the deal. Next, our wedding planners (yes, both girl and boy) start dancing on stage. Odd, because they haven’t rehearsed even once! (Perhaps to avoid stretching the film).

Back to the story. The couple is doing well but suddenly the girl decides that love is getting in the way of work. So they part ways and work independently but business is not what it was when they were together. So they team up again to repay their loans. What follows next forms the crux of the film.

But wait, we just had to mention this. The couple is paid Rs 2 crore to plan a wedding but the wedding set is so poorly designed, it makes you wonder if the art director was instructed by the production team to rein in costs.

Despite all these loopholes, Band Baaja Baaraat is not a bad film. The first half has several fun-filled moments. No, they don’t make you laugh but you’re kind of okay with it. The intermission is also well-timed and generates curiosity about the second half. But what happens in the initial moments of the second half is nothing less than off-putting. The boy’s reasons for denying he’s in love are childish and the film falls flat from here on.

Director Maneesh Sharma has managed many scenes with aplomb, especially in the first half. But he fails to justify why his male or female protagonist behaves the way they do. He is also not convincing. Music is peppy and goes well with the flow. Cinematography is all right.

Performance-wise, Ranveer Singh makes a confident debut. He’s full of energy and makes an impressive entry. Anushka Sharma is first-rate but she should not pull a face all the time. That’s not emoting. Neeraj Sood is fine. Mannu Rishi, in a brief role, is wasted. The rest of the cast lends adequate support.

Verdict: Judging by its budget and lack of competition, the film will reach the safety mark. However, the theatrical performance will make another dent in the Yash Raj banner’s reputation. Average fare.

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