Have you ever played Taboo? Yes, that board game where one player is prohibited to say a particular word and has to quickly think of other relatable words that would lead their partner to it? Did that ring a bell? In debutante director Laxman Utekar’s Luka Chhupi, that word in question is live-in. Oops, I just said the word.
Live-in relationships are considered a taboo in many Indian households since time immemorial. The transition from arranged marriages to love marriages has happened, but live-ins? Not so much. And is love always enough to make marriages last, especially in times like ours?
Cases of young couples resorting to ‘act’ married to get a house together in cities too aren’t exactly uncommon anymore either. We all know – or have heard of – that one couple who have been living together far away from the eyes of their parents and relatives, don’t we? And that’s pretty much the story of Guddu Shukla (Kartik Aaryan) and Rashmi Trivedi (Kriti Sanon) too.
Guddu, the star reporter of a local TV news channel in Mathura meets and falls in love with the newly-appointed intern Rashmi, the daughter of a powerful – and anti-live-in – politician Vishnu Trivedi (Vinay Pathak). Guddu proposes to Rashmi, but the latter declines. Why? Because she wants a live-in relationship first. And so, a much-in-love Guddu, with the help of his colleague and confidante Abbas (Aparshakti Khurana) decides to go on a 20-day project with Rashmi to help her make her decision – and of course, live together in the process. They portray themselves as a married couple to live at peace as the luka chhupi (hide-and-seek) with their families begins, but it doesn’t take too long till all hell breaks loose.
- Storyline and Execution: From the very first scene, the storyline is highly predictable. In fact, those who have seen the trailer too could have guessed the story. Honestly, it brings nothing new to the table. However, the background music, especially the way they use a few old classics, makes for some laughable moments in the film. The dialogues too are ordinary, and there’s nothing worth remembering once you leave the theatre, barring that one hilarious Baabul jo tumne sikhaya scene. The film is not very long (two hours), which is a plus, but the lack of script and repetition in the story hampers the appeal of the film overall. Also, a 20-day live-in to decide whether to get married or not? What’s with that deadline? It doesn’t exactly work like that, does it?
- Performances: That one thing that (sort of) saves the film, though it doesn’t have too many acting-heavy scenes. Kartik is believable as Guddu and has rather good comic timing in the film. Kriti, after a brilliant job in Bareily Ki Barfi, is consistent and delivers a decent performance too. They make a nice pair, and have a noticeable chemistry that works well for the film. The dependable Pankaj Tripathi and Vinay Pathak are good, just that their characters don’t exactly live up to their acting skills. Aparshakti is endearing too, but has very little screen time.
- Soundtrack: Umm. Let’s not get there. All the songs of the film are either remixed or recreated. The makers call it a ‘remix album’. Ahem. While I’m reserving my comments on that, I like the fact that most of the songs were put in the background as situational songs. Otherwise, it would have been a long film.
Pro tip: If you want to enjoy the film, you need to leave your brain at home. Don’t judge it, don’t look for logic and just watch it as a one-time total time pass film. It has its fun moments but it won’t bring a change in the society, nor is it a commentary on live-in relationships. It touches the topic, yes, but that’s about it. Once you keep all this into consideration, only then will the cost of your ticket be worth it.I am able to give it a generous 2.5 chirps because I did the same (left my brain at home, that is).