‘Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi’ review
It is conveniently cute but that doesn’t make for a good film
This should be a special film for Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Not only does this mark his third film as producer, this time it’s his sister who’s debuting as director. But of course, every lifeline has to have a point of conflict. For the Bhansalis, it’s comedy as a genre itself. Sanjay’s last comedy film (his first as just producer) My Friend Pinto, was not just a colossal waste of time and money, but also of underrated talent like Pratiek, Kalki and Shruti Seth. And now, with him teaming up with his sister to bring out a story that’s based on an eight-year old bit of reality, one is admittedly curious. The curiosity deepens as you know the film is a romance between two single middle-aged protagonists. There’s comedy, there’s Boman Irani, there are endearing moments, and there’s the “tribute to the Parsees”. The concoction sounds interesting, doesn’t it?
So there’s an immediate Parsee family consisting of a son, a doting mother and a loving grandmother. The son, Farhad Pastakia (Boman Irani) is 45 years old, is single, and has an embarrassing job profile – he’s a salesman in a lingerie store. More than anything else, he’s lonely and looking for love, which comes knocking at his store door in the form of Shirin Fuggawala (Farah Khan), a 40-year old Parsee trust secretary. Love blooms, and his family’s happy, until his mother finds out the true identity of Shirin, when hell breaks loose.
Every normal film that goes by the rulebook has three Acts, the first being the base, the second showing the conflict, and the final having the resolution. The use of these very acts have been shuffled, modified, or broken many a time to tell a story unique in cinemas worldwide. But for this particular film, one feels that we’re still in Act One, all the way until the last 15 minutes of the film. Yes, there is that Act Two looming around (the Parsee Trust breaking off an illegal tank), but the implementation of the conflict is undeniably poor, and doesn’t seem to have any impact on the viewer. Plus, for the sake of earning brownie points, we have filmy introductions, and a song that tributes popular 90s Hindi romances, but obviously that wouldn’t work. And for a film that’s supposed to be a romantic comedy, the comedy vector doesn’t seem to be supported by one very important element: timing. Yes, there are some jokes, but they’re unfortunately few and far between. The romance factor is diluted, and though there’s enough chemistry between the leads, their togetherness is caricature enough to mislead the people into feeling they’re being buddies. Moreover, for this film to be called a tribute to the Parsee community, all Parsees look like lunatics in the film, which unfortunately is very off-putting. Admittedly, there are some very well written and executed emotional scenes, which do give you goosebumps, but they’re not worth sitting through the whole film.
Bela Sehgal’s debut venture as a director shows some sparks and some potential, but a bad blend of miscasting and an uninteresting screenplay does the job of spoiling it. The film is supported by decent cinematography and camerawork, but the editing and the transitions are terribly tacky. Admittedly though, the runtime is thankfully crisp. Art direction has beauty in the midst of rawness, and this is where we know that there’s the influence of Sanjay Leela Bhansali looming around. Jeet Ganguly’s tracks are hummable, but don’t leave an impression on your mind, and honestly, apart from Khatti Meethi, none of the other songs have an impact visually. Even Ramba Mein Samba fails to light you up.
Boman Irani’s done very well, even for a flimsily written character like his, and breathes life into every moment of the role. Farah Khan is a major disappointment. She’s wasted an epic role, and seems highly miscast. Moreover, she doesn’t know how to cry; she almost seems to break into laughter everywhere, which spoils it. Daisy Irani is cute and plays her role well. Ditto for Shammi. Dinyar Contractor in a bit role is endearing. Others are okay.
Overall, this film is a disappointment from all angles. The romance is half-baked, and the comedy ill-timed. Sure, it’s conveniently cute – and cutely convenient – at many places, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good film. This film is what I would call a sheer waste of a golden opportunity.
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