Reviewing the Reviews: Critics divided on Shaadi Ke Side Effects

03 Mar,2014

By Deepa Gahlot

 

Shaadi Ke Side Effects

Directed by: Saket Chaudhary

Starring: Farhan Akhtar, Vidya Balan, Vir Das, etc

 

About Saket Chaudhary’s Shaadi Ki Side Effects, most critics were divided. They were also disappointed that an idea with potential was frittered in a plot that is so callously misogynistic and most unfair to the woman. Farhan Akhtar’s performance as the reluctant dad was appreciated by most; Vidya Balan seems to have been given a dead-end part with hardly any redeeming features.

 

The ratings went from two to three, but mostly hovered at 2.5, and that too because the subject of an urban marriage coming apart by parenthood is relatively novel for Hindi films.

 

Shubra Gupta of the Indian Express rued, “Till the half-way mark, Saket Chaudhary hits things right on the mark. Post-interval, the film is all over the place. Sid’s mentor ( Kapoor) takes him down a dodgy path which involves ‘me time’ carved out of a bunch of white lies. Out comes the tired homily : for a happy marriage, a few untruths are necessary. To stay consistent to this very guy thing, Sid is made to experiment with a change of image. The film, which was moseying along with sure-footed lightness, even if it was from an exclusionary male point of view, starts becoming forced.”

 

Saibal Chatterjee of NDTV.com commented, “White lies, some harmless subterfuge and an occasional return to the joys of a “carefree single life” are offered as a way out of marital drudgery.  Sure enough, the side effects of that formula are far too many for comfort and they boomerang many times over on Sid. Shaadi Ke Side Effects isn’t exceptionally engaging fare. It is essentially a single idea stretched to the very end of its tether. Yet, the sheer ordinariness of the circumstances that the story hinges on helps the film retain its amusing core.”

 

Rediff.com’s Prasanna D. Zore ranted, “Shaadi Ke Side Effects (SKSE), written and directed by Saket Chaudhary, who also helmed Rahul Bose-Mallika Sherawat starrer Pyaar Ke Side Effects, opens on this contrived note and meanders for an over-stretched 145 minutes, full of twists and turns, that one has come to so famously associate with soaps produced by Balaji.  Chaudhary has, at times, over-simplified the complex issues married couples face (sharing of parental responsibilities) and, at times, over-amplified the way these strange creatures (read married couples) react to facts of married-life, like pregnancies.

 

Anupama Chopra of Hindustan Times had fun in the first half, “But post-interval, another film begins,” she wrote. “One that is curdled and contrived. New characters are introduced but instead of being organic to the narrative, they seem like an afterthought – tacked on simply to keep a movement going.

 

Saket creates flashes of genuine insight into marriage and parenting – toward the end, Trisha finally gets a moment to articulate how overwhelming motherhood can be for a woman – but these get lost in the clumsy, overstretched plot.”

 

Rajeev Masand of CNN-IBN had the same opinion. “Unfortunately, the steady stream of laughs from the first half more or less dries up post intermission, when the writers struggle to come up with dramatic plot-points for a film that frankly has no story. Sid’s mid-life crisis – he buys a motorbike, and begins partying with his new “bro” Vir Das – feels far-fetched and contrived, as does a subplot involving a helpful maid (Ila Arun) who subsequently oversteps her boundaries. Even a half-baked attempt at a twist in the film’s final act can be guessed from a mile away.”

 

Deepanjana Pal of Firstpost commented, “If you’ve seen Chaudhary’s first film, Pyaar Ke Side Effects, and the trailer to Shaadi…, which shows a cool husband and his nagging wife, then the expectations would be different. It turns out that Shaadi… falls smack in the middle. It has some genuinely quirky moments, but it’s also half-baked, juvenile and completely lacking in insight.”

 

Nandini Ramnath of Mint wrote, “Chaudhary’s debut, released in 2006, had endearing characters, several nicely executed gags, a consistently comic tone and empathy for the female lead even though the story played out entirely from a male point of view. Shaadi Ke Side Effects continues with the male POV, has the same exasperated voice-over and similar sense of shock at the responsibilities foisted by marriage on the male gender. The second film has gained gloss and glamorous leads but at the expense of variety and tonal consistency. Early-reel wackiness is jettisoned for heavy-handed sermonizing, Sid’s suffering enters masochistic territory, Trisha begins to look less like a misunderstood mother and more like an uncaring hausfrau.”

 

Anuj Kumar of The Hindu quite liked it. “Apart from conjuring up funny moments around seemingly serious issues, Saket’s storytelling keeps you engaged even when you know the obstacles on the way are not entirely novel. The arrival of the child, the presence of a handsome neighbour, the emergence of a marriage guru in the family, we know the basic tropes but still Saket manages to keep us in good humour with witty lines and a couple of foot-tapping party numbers. He has a knack for making you feel complacent and then surprising you with a little twist in the treatment.”

 

Sarita Tanwar of DNA was also kind. “Shaadi Ke Side Effects is a romcom that begins with a married couple indulging in some role play on a night out. Right off you know, this is the kind of Hindi film that you haven’t seen before. It deals with the situations - comical and ironical - that follow once Trisha (Vidya Balan) and Sid (Farhan Akhtar) realize they are expecting a baby. The arrival of the tot brings with it challenges that neither anticipated. Sid grapples with how to be a good husband and father while being financially and emotionally supportive. Trisha worries constantly about her baby, her weight gain and giving up a career. It is an unknown territory for both and it throws up new situations and complicates their life to the point they don’t recognize it, or each other. Lies and deceit follow.”

 

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