Rarely have I come across a so coherently scripted, cutely enacted, carefully plotted and charmingly photographed Bollywood movie like Shaandaar.
Holy cow, I told myself sotto voce while watching the film, Surely, this can’t be a Bollywood film. It has the hand of Hollywood aristophren Martin Scorsese all over it.
Featuring Bollywood’s hottest adorable cuties Alia Bhat and Shahid Kapoor and veteran actor Pankaj Kapoor, Shaandaar is like a Diwali gift that came a few weeks early to grateful Indians around the world.
Meticulously directed by Vikas Bahl based on a script that Bahl and Chaitally Parmar wrote, Shaandaar unequivocally puts the lie to the frequent criticism that Bollywood puts out only crass films.
This non pareil movie in its essence is about a slim girl Alia (Alia Bhatt) and her fat sister Isha (Sanah Kapoor)’s wedding.
Fat girl with cuddly udders and an enticing football derriere is getting married to her eight-pack beau Robin Fundwani (Vikas Verman) at an English castle.
The wedding is actually a business deal struck between two desperate families, each hoping to cash in on the other’s wealth.
Our hero with the sui generis name Jagjinder Joginder (Shahid Kapoor)is the wedding planner for the grand event.
With an adorable face, an irresistible impish charm and a powerful Harley between his legs, Jagjinder Joginder aka JJ soon has all members of the distaff sex, including the matriarch Mummyji, making eyes at him.
But our Punjabi Adonis has eyes only, only for Alia.
Since both our hero and heroine are insomniacs, they go skinnydipping by moonlight in roaring waterfalls, sing songs, dance away merrily, sleep in the open, drink pretend-tea, fall in love and, above all, cure each other’s insomnia.
Bollywood’s acting dynamo Pankaj Kapur plays Alia’s father, Bipin Arora, with enormous grace and restraint.
If you loved Pankaj Kapoor in Dharm or Blue Umbrella, you’ll be floored by his performance in Shaandaar as he repeatedly gets pussywhipped by the two strong women in his life, Mummyji and his wife.
In a movie loaded with humor, the Arora family’s move to prop up dead Mummyji in the wheelchair and offer her Red Wine was the aceme, so tastefully executed it brought the house down.
The icing on the beautiful Shaandaar cake is Alia dressed in skimpy attire showing her legs, cleavage and what have you.
Alia Bhatt in a pink bikini covering her anterior golf balls and posterior tennis balls makes Jennifer Lawrence, Chloë Grace Moretz, Mallika Sherawat, Nirupama Roy and Halle Berry look like slatternly cows returning from the pasture at dawn to their master’s compound.
I bet it won’t be long before Hollywood and Chinese studios grab the remake rights to Shaandaar and extends the charms of this charming romance to a wider audience.
To miss a film like Shaandaar is to turn your back on all that’s artistic.