Written by Manisha Lakhe on March 1, 2019
Everything About Small Towns You Did Not Wish To See
A young couple decide to try and ‘live in’ and get caught. The family believes the fake evidence of marriage they have planted for neighbours and bring the two back home. Their unconditional acceptance makes the two feel guilty, and they make several attempts to get married for real. The set up is totally unfunny, but the attempts to get married does bring laughter, if only you can stay awake.
Chote Sheher = Quirky People
(The most asinine assumption ever!)
When you try and tell a ‘small town’ tale, you must understand that your assumptions can backfire if the audience does find it funny. And this film fails in the first half completely. The young man and woman, Kartik Aryan (fresh off the success of Sonu Ke Teetu Ki Sweety) and Kriti Sanon (pretty as always) have no more chemistry than a wooden bench in the park has with the trees. And the first ‘daring’ assumption made by the young woman: ‘I want to try a ‘live in’ relationship because it sounds so cool and better than getting my heart broken like I did with a previous boyfriend’ is just plain stupid because she does not realise that a ‘live-in’ relationship breaking up could be just as painful. And the second assumption that young men and women can get physical only if they are in a live in relationship or on their honeymoon is so ridiculous, you are stumped.
But in order to make it ‘funny’, the writers add a political gimmick. The young woman’s dad runs a political party whose sole aim is to separate young couples in parks and other public spaces because ‘it is against our culture’. So Kartik, he’s called ‘Guddu’ and Kriti’s ‘Rashmi’ escape to Gwalior to try out a ‘Live-in’. While the two are happy in their love nest, we see more weird characters show up. Oh yes, the two lovebirds and their friend Abbas (Aparshakti Khurana) are perhaps the only normal people you have seen so far. Guddu’s family consists of totally oddball parents, brothers (one married, the other desperate), two hanger ons (both brothers of the sister in law). Kriti’s family has a mean politician dad (Vinay Pathak) and a loud goon like brother, and a mum whose face we do not see…Of course they get the super talented Pankaj Tripathi to play one of the hanger ons, wear really ghastly clothing, and make him spy on Guddu, and run after every woman… If this has not made you cringe, then Guddu and Rashmi’s neighbours will make you puke in your popcorn. And please small towns are not populated with oddballs.
Assumption: Women make ridiculous demands.
Men will get beaten up for trying to meet the demands.
The funny part is the last half hour of the film. The two are accepted and brought back home. They feel guilty, and now Rashmi insists that she wants to be married properly, so she feels like a ‘bahu’ (daughter-in-law) of the family. Before you facepalm, the two have tried and get Guddu gets beaten up for this. Each time Rashmi escapes because her face is covered (as is the tradition). But for such laughs, are you going to give up reasoning?
Guddu staring into nothing (but looks like he’s ogling at the derriere of the maid sweeping) and his dad and brother assuming he is sex starved (now he’s married so he must be hankering after variety) is the worst kind of joke to make in 2019. It’s plain embarrasing to hear a bidaai song when Guddu is about to step out of the home to go live-in with Rashmi in another town. Who thought it was funny? And the set up to parents discovering their lie is the song, ‘Pyar kiya toh darna kya’? I mean, seriously? The film is so bad, you notice Kartik Aryan carefully throws the water (in the bath scene) over his shoulder as as to not mess with his carefully made up hair… And just so stupid peple in the audience understand that Pankaj Tripathi is in a comic role, he is given wildly colorful clothes to wear and he pulls so many faces, it’s a shame to see his talent used that way. I hope he got to keep those shiny shoes.
You do chuckle because each attempt to get married is stupider than the first. But you come away having lost two hours of your life…
(this review appears on nowrunning.com)