13 Jun 2021: 'Shaadisthan' review: Road movie has potential, but turns into trainwreck
Shaadisthan, starring Kirti Kulhari, is now streaming on Disney+ Hotstar. The film, written and directed by Raj Singh Chaudhary, also stars Medha Shankar and Nivedita Bhattacharya. A road film, it leaves you wanting for more, but not in a good way. The pace is so insufferable sometime that its 93-minute-long run seems like an eternity and it fails on many levels. Here's our review.
Plot: An unlikely road-trip to help a teen reach her wedding
Arshi (Shankar) and her family have to reach Ajmer for a wedding, but she apparently is being a brat, and making things hard on them. An unlikely road-trip is arranged where they have to bunk with a rock band led by Sasha (Kulhari). It's revealed that Arshi, barely 18, is getting engaged against her will by her dad for the sake of their society.
Execution: Parallels drawn through conversations, but they end up being preachy
Arshi's mother, played by Nivedita Bhattacharya, is poles apart from Sasha. One lives life on her terms, the other probably has to seek her husband's permission even to speak. Chaudhary tries to draw these parallels through conversations between the two, but they end up sounding too condescending, preachy and judgmental. Stronger dialogues were needed in order to make these random conversations seem significant.
Acting: A better script was needed for the cast to shine
Both Kulhari and Bhattacharya, brilliant actors, remain underutilized due to a half-baked and weak script. Regardless, Bhattacharya as the societally-conditioned, but still loving mother, is a high point of the film. Her chemistry with real-life husband Kay Kay Menon made me smile. He has a cameo in the film. Shankar only sulks and pouts, and barely speaks throughout the movie, which gets annoying.
Production: Music remains another disappointment; camera and production could be elevated
For a film labeling itself as a musical, the music is a big disappointment. The songs are off-key, music is jarring and the lyrics are damp. The director uses a slow-motion sort of camera technique to depict characters, which is a pain and doesn't really work mostly, because the pace is already so slow. Being a road-movie, a lot could have been experimented with.
Verdict: It's all over the place and is preachy; gets 2/5
The director gets too caught up between trying to give a message about patriarchy and society at a larger scale v/s an 18-year-old accepting her fate, while still fighting. The climax that needed much more nuance is over in mere two-three minutes, thus looks incomplete. Even though its heart is in the right place, this movie gets too obvious and holier-than-thou. Verdict: 2/5 Bytes.
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