‘The Most Unexpected Romance of the Year’ is what the movie promised us. Well, I would say that it lived upto the promise and we are quite happy about it. Debutant Director Shelly Chopra Dhar has done a good job, if not great. As we all knew what to expect from the movie – Sweety (Sonam Kapoor) is a lesbian in a small town, tight knit community, fighting her way to accept the truth herself, let alone coming out to her family. In the very first scene, we know that Balbir Chaudhary (Anil Kapoor) is eager to get her daughter, Sweety, married and is always on a boy-hunt for her, as you would expect from any father in a small town.
They are at wedding while Sweety meets a guy, is singing, dancing and having fun. We skip to ‘one year later’ and get introduced to Sahil Mirza (Rajkumar Rao), who is a failed play-writer trying to make it big in the city, Delhi. Chatroji (Juhi Chawla) is the caterer at his drama company and her only wish is to act someday. Sahil meets Sweety at a theatre, where she has come to hide from his brother while being on a run. He is instantly attracted to her, is smitten and falls in love. Helping her run away, when he doesn’t even know the reason or who they are running from. On the way, Sweety tell him that she is getting late for a visa appointment at the British Embassy and that’s all we know until we are taken to a town in Punjab called Moga, where is the entire backdrop is set for the film. Sahil follows Sweety to Moga for his love only to find out that Sweety would never be his.
It is great story with multiple equations, predominantly a father-daughter relationship with Sahil-Sweety friendship and Chatro-Balbir’s innocent, fun romance. And of course the relationship between Sweety and her lover. While the main plot is a lesbian relationship, it touches upon many other aspects such as – accepting your truth, being okay with it and finally coming out in a society where even inter-religion marriages are frowned upon. As sensitive as the subject is, it is even more difficult to make it acceptable. A sequence that I thought was beautifully executed is, her childhood, discovery of her being and trying to make peace with.
Amidst everything, if I had to pick and talk about few things, they will be:
- Casting: It’s a great cast. Seeing Anil Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor play father-daughter on screen is a delight. Their emotions seem so real that every time they are together, it will go straight to your heart. Anil Kapoor is as lively as ever (I wonder what does he do to be this man!). Sonam is convincing as a girl in a small town, born in a conservative family trying to cope with the situation and still living a life of her own. Rajkumar Rao is just water, you put him anywhere, anyhow and he just fits. Sahil might show a few traits from his role in Bareily Ki Barfi, but as the film progresses, you know he is a totally different person. Juhi Chawla completes the puzzle. Quite a few important decisions depend on Chatroji. She might be playing a supporting role, but definitely an important one.
- Screenplay: Seems effortless. It does not feel stretched or unnecessary at any point, except a bit over-dramatic during the play sequence in the second half but Anil Kapoor manages to pull it off without coming too harsh on you. A well-written script that will hardly give you a chance to complain and you will sure have a good time. A full package with tears, laughter, drama and an important message to convey.
- Music: The music of the film had already won hearts with the album release. But also fits in the movie quite well. It’s groovy and every time a song plays, it will assure that you are singing along and if not, you are bound to download the tile track on your way back. Reviving the old ‘Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga’, the new one is a beautiful composition that will stick around for a while. The Sound Design is also done really well, it keeps you involved at all times and makes sure that you feel the exact emotion that the characters are going through on the screen.
In conclusion, I think it is a beautiful watch and deserves brownie points for adapting such a subject into Mainstream Cinema and making it acceptable while being considerate about its sensitivity. The Sparrow gives it 3.5 chirps and hopes that more filmmakers will now take up unconventional subjects into commercial!