A film like Shaandaar can only exist in the Bollywood universe. People can dare to make a film like Shaandaar only in Bollywood. Top notch stars can subject themselves to such humiliation only in Bollywood. A film like Shaandaar can have a 13 crore opening only in Bollywood. A very dangerous complacency is plaguing the viewers of this country. We are “ok” with going into cinemas and being “ok’ with meaningless, mundane and plain crap served in the name of cinema, as long as there are n-number of stars doing n-number of songs and the film is produced by big house and has a “directed by tag” of a man who might have given us an astounding film in the not so distant past. Shaandaar is according to “Times of India”, India’s first destination wedding film. However, one of the many problems is that there is no wedding here.
Just like the wedding, there is no plot either. The story, if you may call it so, is that of an insomniac Alia (Alia Bhatt) who has been adopted by Vipin (Pankaj Kapur) and he adores her. But she is in bad terms with her grandmother and step mother. The family retires to an exotic location to get the other daughter of the family married to some atrociously dressed “fundwanis” as part of a calculated deal. The “fundwanis” are their parachute for bailing out of a tight spot. Vipin is dominated by his mother and the daughter Isha has surrendered to getting married to a meatloaf as it is saving her family. In the end, the father and daughter run away from the marriage and in the meantime Alia falls in love with the wedding organizer Jagjinder Joginder (Shahid Kapoor) and her dad consents to their relation in the end as they are escaping the wedding in a helicopter.
That’s the story which is stretched to 2 hours and 25 minutes. There is no reason, no logic, no drama and not much comedy. What the film has is an endless supply of songs that don’t put you to sleep. The screenplay practically jumps from one song to the other and nothing happens in the songs apart from some hip displacing gyration. In the absence of the story, the film depended on some good set pieces to keep up the interest. That is missing. In the name of set pieces we have z- class jokes like Isha telling her father ”Dad, Alia Jagjinder Joginder ke sath soti hai ” by which she means that the insomniac has found peace in the company of JJ.
Each of the characters makes a joke out of themselves. Shahid has nothing to do except looking wacky and acting wacky all the time. His character has no past, no present and seemingly no future. Why he falls in love with Alia is a big question. Is he in love with Alia is an even bigger question. A seasoned actor like Pankaj Kapur had no reason to do this film and yet he is there all the way through. Alia Bhatt is cute but again, her character is in no-man’s land. The fact that the film is meaningless doesn’t help her cause either. Sanjay Kapoor finally gets to act after ages and he is just as terrible as he used to be.
While we were coming out of the theater, the man who is supposed to show the way was the only one left and he was dousing the lights as I was telling my friend about how terribly I hated the film. The man quickly got into the conversation and said that the film was a headache! He added that he knew what an insufferable bore it was, on the very first screening of it. Here is man who could be sighted as the “aam junta”. If this is his reaction, I truly feel that the film has failed. A good film appeals to all and a bad one only attracts multiplex crowds. Do you really want to patronize such bad films? Food for thoughts.