Remember Vikas Bahl, the simple, sincere man who after a lot of rejections and dejections made a film that he wanted to make with all his heart - and succeeded? Yes, I am talking about the same Vikas Bahl who made Queen, a film that went on to become the most loved Bollywood fare of last year! The success meant that Bahl wouldn’t have to go searching door to door for producers any more. Fox studio, K-Jo’s Dharma productions and the old faithful (‘Ph’ se) Phantom films all came aboard to produce Behl’s new film. Naturally they (and we) expected something as enticing and entertaining as the man’s last offering. So were these expectations fulfilled?
What’s the plot?
A rich businessman (Pankaj Kapur) brings a poor orphan girl (Alia Bhatt) to stay with his family. The man is a meek son to a ruthless mother (Sushama Seth) and a henpecked husband to a domineering wife. As expected, the newcomer is received unkindly by the women ruling the house, oops, sorry, the castle! But the man’s daughter (Sanah Kapur), an oversized but kind-hearted girl, treats the new entrant as her own sister. The witchy grand-mom and bitchy mom decide to marry off the ‘fat daughter of the house’ to a crazy businessman’s (Sanjay Kapoor) pompous brother. To plan the big fat wedding at the castle, in walks a charming wedding planner (Shahid Kapoor), who falls in love with the outlandish orphan girl at first sight! Will their romance flourish amidst the frantic wedding preparations and the behind-the-scene sly business strategies?
· Rich production values, lavish colorful sets and beautiful cinematography give this film a perfect comic-book look and feel.
· Excellent chemistry between the lead trio- Alia, Shahid and Pankaj Kapur, all superb actors, who are completely at ease at aimlessly frolicking around!
· Sanjay Kapoor (aping his big bro Anil Kapoor to the hilt!) plays the wacky Sindhi businessman with gusto; veteran Sushama Seth brings enough sassiness in her mean matriarchal role and Sanah Kapur makes a good impression as the overeager bride-to-be.
· There are some really entertaining sequences.
· It is clear that Vikas Bahl wanted to make a Disney-like modern day fairy tale in the form of an over-the-top frothy rom-com. He partly succeeds but by padding it up with too many unnecessary elements, he ends up making a bloated film which loses grip too soon, never to recover.
· He creates some good caricatures from the so-called hi-fi rich society but cannot use them coherently to make an engaging narrative. The whole story is a sloppy mishmash of many popular fairy tale romances from past.
· The copious bits of animation doesn’t induce wow factor and instead makes you weary!
· The song-dance sequences are well choreographed but again, far too many for comfort.
Shaandaar could have become a good entertainer with some imagination and some restraint. But what we get instead is a misstep from a talented director, who goes overboard in his experimentation with a different genre. Sometimes getting a big budget from big studios can make you try out too many incongruous things, just for the heck of it. This film is a typical example of that and the disappointing box office collections have already proved that the audience did not really enjoy it!