Shudh Desi Romance is the primarily the story of three characters Raghu (Sushant Rajput), Gayatri (Parineeti Chopra) and Tara (Vaani Kapoor) set in Jaipur, and the love triangle between them. The focus for the majority part of the movie is more about the insecurities and fears of commitment the three face. Rishi Kapoor plays the character of Mr. Goyal who is caterer and manages baarats.
Raghu is a registered tour guide, but also makes money from commissions he gets from stores where he dupes foreigners to buy things at exaggerated prices. Apart from this, he is a baraati for hire. Gayatri is also a baraati for hire and works at a coaching class. The story starts with Raghu and is baarat on their way to Ajmer for his marriage with Taara. In his talk with Gayatri(whom he has hired for his baarat) he confesses that he agreed to get married to Taara because she was good looking, however he now has his apprehensions as he doesn’t know if the two are compatible or not. He learns that Gayatri is an independent woman who likes to live on her own terms, and has had been in a relationship before.
He goes on to confess that he is attracted to Gayatri. He can’t handle the pressure of marrying someone he doesn’t know and runs away, leaving Taara in the middle of the ceremonies. Gayatri runs into Raghu two weeks later, and Raghu still feels the attraction towards her. He moves in to her house and they try start a live in relationship. When the two of them decide to get married, it is not the turn of Raghu to be left at the altar as Gayatri runs away.
Raghu runs into Tara, when he is a baarati for hire. There is an interesting confrontation between Taara, her uncle and Raghu. Taara and Raghu meet in Jaipur, and start a relationship. Taara’s actions bring a better understanding in Raghu as to how it feels when someone leaves you without an explanation. Things turn for a toss when Raghu and Taara run in to Gayatri at another marriage.
The movie starts with a monologue by Raghu in which he breaks the fourth wall and talks to the audience. There will be one such monologue by each of the three characters at key junctures of the story. Raghu mulls over the fascination of the nation with arranged marriage. There are four key parts of this monologue:
- Not only men but women also have desires, and they look for different things when they check out/look for a partner. While in itself it is not the revealing of a hitherto unknown fact, but the admission of it is deviation from many Bollywood movies.
- Even if a guy and girl just talk, they become Vikram and the rest of the world becomes Vetaal to hound them.
- He can’t understand why people tell him ‘Zyaada mat socho, bus settle ho jaao.’ (Don’t think too much, just settle down) as if ‘Shaadi na hui, glucose/ ICU ho gaya, har chees ka ilaaj’ (As if marriage is like glucose/ ICU which is a treatment for every ail)
- The best part was: ‘saara hindustan settlement karane pe laga hai… saatth saal se do padosi se settlement kara nahi paae bade chaudhary bante hain’ (The whole nation is behind getting settled, they couldn’t settle two neighbors in 60 years but still think of themselves as something great)
Another interesting scene of mention is the confrontation between Raghu, Taara and Taara’s uncle at a marriage. While Raghu initially tries to avoid running into him, they come face to face. The uncle creates a ruckus and calls on some people to beat him up. When Taara intervenes to stop the scene, he tells her that she is her ‘responsibility’. What follows is pure brilliance.
Taara goes on to ask him when was it that her parents (who had died quite some time ago) handed over responsibility to him. She says that she alone is responsible for her life, and that doesn’t need help from an uncle who met her only once in the last four years which was also in a marriage. In fact they were doing this not because they felt for her, but they wanted revenge for themselves.
Taara is my favorite character in the movie. While Gayatri is an independent woman as well, Taara shows more presence of mind, an understanding for human emotions, and is the only character who accepts things for what they truly are, so that she can move on. When she is left standing when Raghu runs away, her reaction is to ask for a cold drink instead of breaking down (for which she gives a good reason later).
There are many nuances that are built in the story and dialogues that make it a gem. When Raghu and Taara are to get married and the baaratis ask her to show her face from beneath her ghunghat (veil) someone comments in the back that such a beautiful girl is being married off to Raghu because she is orphan and her relatives want to get rid of her. The opening song sequence shows many different couples in the city, how they are moving about, including wannabes who ogle at girls who pass by or the cops punishing couples found in parks by making them do sit ups. My personal favorites are the monologues by the characters, in which the double standards of our systems are traditions are questioned.
This is why I believe that the star of the movie is not an actor but writer Jaideep Sahni (who also wrote the script), who has written the scripts for ‘Chak De! India’ and ‘Khosla ka Ghosla’ before. Director Maneesh Sharma does a good job. The chemistry between between Sushant and Parineeti is better than that between Vaani and him.
Watch out for the opening song ‘Chanchal mann’
and ‘Gulabi’ which has Sushant and Vaani in different parts of the pink city.