Shuddh Desi Romance: Review

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.

Plot Synopsis:

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.

 

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Review: Hexagon by Ishaan Lalit

Hexagon is the second book by Ishaan Lalit, after TheBracelet. I will give you a gist of the story with minimal spoilers before the review.
Hexagon is primarily led by Rahul Oberoi who is an art thief along with this his girl friend Ria. Things go for a toss when they are caught in one of their chases and are lead to a secret underground facility (and yes it is an Indian government facility; Thank you, Ishaan), where to their wonder his grandfather worked before his death. The reason for this facility being so secret is the existence of an ancient hexagonal device which acts as nexus or gateway of sorts to access the six different parallel earths. From one of these earths comes the race known as Moths. They are on a path of world domination and know how to use the Hexagon to access other earths to conquer them.  Now it depends on how they brace themselves with such information and what they do about it. Do they use the Hexagon to access the other earths as well, and if they do will they find friendly races or more enemies?
The book is fast paced and surprisingly you do not get the feeling of jumping from one act to another but instead it seems like a natural progression only at a fast pace. It is like running up a flight of stairs and noticing the different doors and apartments on each floor. I like to see the book in two different aspects. The first being the story of the characters and how they act and change as you read on. The second is the sci-fi setting of the novel with the Hexagonal device, parallel earths, and the different races on said earths. Ishaan deserves credit for a job well done here. He doesn’t get carried away in either of the aspects. You won’t find him describing the universe his work is set in and not delve on the characters. He manages to strike a balance with his visual descriptions.
As mentioned, this is his second book and it is an added pleasure to read it after the first. I personally believe that the core structure of the two books is similar. A character gets involved in a situation; the existence of which is a secret, and how he in spite of being the newbie to it has to take initiative to see it through. This book has the weaves of story lines more intricate and how the writer is maturing his skills with more writing. The book however has its shortfalls. I found that the editing needs more work as there is one chapter that is repeated after its original apart from a few very minor slips.
The second issue I have is more of a personal opinion and should not be considered demerit at all. The book is too short for my liking. It is not short in general, as it has about more than 50K words, and has 232 pages. I personally enjoyed the style of writing in this book with its descriptions, characterizations and sci-fi elements. At the end of the book I was left with a feeling of wanting more. Make no mistake that writing such a piece of work must have been a very consuming task for him, and the book does end with a possibility of a sequel. I do hope that we get to read it. 

Review: The Krishna Key

The Krishna Key’ is the third book written by Ashwin Sanghi, after having written The Rozabal Line and Chanakya’s Chant. Without giving out any detailed spoilers, I will give you a gist of the story as part of the review.
The driving character of the books is Ravi Saini. He is a mythology & history teacher who is on the run to clear his name in the murder of his childhood friend Anil Varshney. Before his death, Varshney found an object that with his theory can change how we know history. However before he can do much about he murdered by a man who calls himself Taarak Vakil, whose name when you play with spells out ‘Kalki Avatar’. However he is not the bad guy like You-Know-Who but a man who believes himself to be tenth avatar of Vishnu (Kalki Avatar) and must vanquish the wrong and bring forth the light.  Now Saini must prove himself innocent while not getting in the hands of Taarak who is trying to kill him as well and save himself from the cunning and competent inspector in charge of hunting him.
The book is in three layers. Layer one is the main story of Saini and Vakil and how their individual quests progress and sometimes merge like the branches of a river. Layer two is the back stories/ flashbacks of the characters which serve to add flavour and show their individual motivation. Layer three is Krishna telling his own story to the reader. Of the three layers I personally liked the second layer the most as it provides the background of the canvas against which the main story is being drawn on while Krishna’s words serve as the frame for the painting.
The book has been told by some be India’s answer to Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code. Now I don’t know how to react to this statement, but yes the book is indeed of the same genre. A mixing of the past and the present, murder and mystery, facts and wishful thinking and some conspiracy theories. The plot has its fair share of surprises and predictable moments. I believe each reader will react differently to the book depending on the number of plot twists they are able to predict or be fascinated by.
I have not read his first book, but have read Chanakya’s Chant with much delight multiple times. Chanakya’s Chant also had two layers, one of the fictional retelling of Chanakya and Chandragupta Maurya’s lives and the second of the lives Chandini and Gangasagar in the present. The two layers were in perfect balance with one leading into the other stream lessly. Just like a well made lasagna or Danish pastry. The Krishna Key however lacks such finesse and at times the plot seems to be pushed ahead instead of progressing. I once wondered that this book had been written before and Chanakya’s Chant after assuming that as the author matured his way of balancing the layers did as well. It seems however Sanghi is a victim of the success of his previous work that I and others have compared this book to those before.
The book is however still a good read and I must appreciate the amount of effort and time put in by the author in the research required to write such a book.
This review is part of the Book Review Program by BlogAdda. Wherein members of the program can receive free books as long as they commit to post a review of it. Due to my own lack of energy owing to some projects I hadn’t blogged for quite some time. I knew that a review would be required when I got in to the program and my lack of energy is no excuse for the review to come so late that BlogAdda had to follow up on me. My sincerest apologies for that.