When you have a film starring(?) Anushka Sharma and greenhorn Ranveer Singh (Bombay Times rumor: his father financed the film, hence the big ‘break’ with YRF) with a title calledBand Baaja Baaraat helmed by debutant Maneesh Sharma, naturally expectations are low. And yet, BBB works its charms in many ways that leaves you oddly satisfied in a manner that films of the genre (romcoms like Break ke Baad, Anjaana Anjaani, I Hate Luv Storys) can only aspire to achieve. After a long time, a mainstream big-budgety film with a standard plot actually makes sense.
So, Shruti (Anushka Sharma) is a 20-something no-nonsense girl from a middle class Delhi household. Focused and determined with preplanned ambitions, her goals in life are well laid out by the time she reaches her final year of college. Bittoo (Ranveer Singh), on the other hand, has no real aim in life. As a final year college student of Delhi University, he whiles away his life having fun with his buddies, barely scraping through his exams. A chance and inopportune meeting brings the two of them together on a tumultuous journey where they become partners in their very own, ‘Wedding planning ka bijness’. The rules however, are clear: “Don’t mix business with pleasure”. Together, their friendship and business, enters the ups and downs of the lavish Delhi weddings. And while trying to find themselves, Shruti and Bittoo discover each other…
For once the screenplay though mired in cliché and convention in plot, more than makes up with effervescent dialogue with its frantically wagging north-Delhi-tongue. Situations come and go seamlessly, there are no real loopholes, it is not over the top (for most part) and if it wasn’t for the overreliance on the prettiness and charm of the characters as plot points, the screenplay is almost in a realistic/believable zone. There are some sparkling scenes to remember – the first kiss (no music, no faux drama), the high of the first wedding the ‘binness’ partners organize successfully, and the emotional upheaval the protagonists go through after the big break-up. There is a sense of honesty in these sequences that big banner movies tend to tune out.
The first half is remarkable. It’s sprightly, witty, and extremely energetic. The emotional graphs are spot on, the taking is apt, and the film doesn’t sag for a moment. Both actors are top-notch and are well at home in the setting that ranges from the confined lanes of Janakpuri to the gated mansions of Sainik Farms – the two locations that serve the metaphorical distance between middle-class and super-rich Delhi. The second half fumbles a bit, but little touches – elephants greeting guests in the Jodhpur wedding, a worker saying ‘Sir, tubelight!’ to Bittoo when he realizes what an idiot he’s been – help keep you smiling now and again. The songs while not really helping the plot move along, are acceptable given the setting of Indian weddings; save for the last item number which is unnecessarily excessive.
Technically, the film is in good hands. Everything from shot taking, sound design, to production design, is all in sync with the theme. And both the actors undoubtedly have put in loads of effort. For a first film, Maneesh Sharma has done a tremendous job.
All said and done, Band Baaja Baaraat is – surprisingly – one of the best mainstream films of the year.
Hindi, Romance, Drama, Color