Shaandaar – Sweet, Simple, Silly

Shaandaar is another film that’s been getting lots of mixed reviews. Considering it has been directed by Vikas Bahl (of Queen fame), the expectations are obviously quite high. Unfortunately, the film does not live up to those standards but it would be unfair to compare Shaandaar to Queen because they are different stories with different purposes.


Alia Arora (Alia Bhatt), daughter of Bipin Arora (Pankaj Kapur), is a quirky, intelligent insomniac who loves her father and adores her sister Isha (Sanah Kapoor). Basically the plot revolves around Isha’s wedding, for which Jagjinder Joginder (Shahid Kapoor) – affectionately known as JJ – is the wedding planner. In the process of wedding shenanigans, love blossoms between JJ and Alia.


There were many good things about this film. For one, all the lead actors are strong and essay their roles powerfully. The father-daughter chemistry between Bipin and Alia is awesome. The romance between Alia and JJ is adorable, and Shahid and Alia look super sexy in their respective avatars. While Alia’s costumes were interesting, some of her outfits did not seem grand enough for a wedding, especially considering that she is the bride’s sister.


Where the film lacks luster is in the elements of comedy. Specifically, the scenes that Bahl intended to be slapstick came across as over the top, which is unfortunate because Vikas Bahl was working with strong actors that could have delivered spontaneously. Pretty much all the comedic scenes with Sanjay Kapoor were exaggerated, bordering on silly and stupid rather than funny. Additionally, the animation was cute but detracted from feeling, exploring, and delving into the characters’ emotions.


In the midst of all the romance and comedy, Vikas Bahl also attempts to pack in some social messages. The repeated references to Isha’s weight were obviously put there to make a point, and Bahl successfully achieved this goal, particularly through the “Senti Wali Mental” qawwali song (which was interesting but purposefully misogynistic).


Needless to say, this fairytale romance is a bit unbelievable but as with any Bollywood film, you have to suspend your disbelief and just go with the flow. It’s a light and easy, drama-free film – arguably too light sometimes but that doesn’t make it a bad film by any means. The songs by Amit Trivedi are quite good, especially “Gulabo”, “Nazdeekiyan”, and the re-renderings of “Eena Meena Deeka” and “Neend Na Mujhko Aaye.” The choreography by Bosco-Caesar was complex and innovative. Fun fact, apparently Alia Bhatt had to practice the choreography quite a bit to match Shahid Kapoor’s dance skills!


Final Verdict: Shaandaar is a clean, cute, timepass film with some unnecessary elements that make it pointless and trivial at times. So don’t expect too much but that being said, it’s definitely worth a matinee watch for the music, choreography, and Shalia’s chemistry.


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