Shiddat Movie Review Rating: 2.5 out of 5.0 stars
Star Cast: Sunny Kaushal, Radhika Madan, Mohit Raina, and Diana Penty.
Director: Kunal Deshmukh
What’s Good: Sunny Kaushal and his honest charm elevated by Radhika Madaan, Mohit Raina & Diana Penty’s performances. Also, Three songs that make you want to stay.
What’s Bad: Kunal Deshmukh’s gest to resurrect his ‘Pagal aashiq’ but ending up creating a predictable and convenient story with a very messy execution.
Loo Break: Sunny, Radhika and others are actually working hard to make sense of the source material. Try avoiding nature’s call for them maybe.
Watch or Not?: It’s kind of a U-Turn to the times Jannat had released and every filmmaker wanted a piece of Emraan Hashmi from that movie in theirs. If you have the appetite for going back to the times the music album was peppier than the movie, here’s a treat. Rest, if you are a fan of any of the 4 actors, go in.
Available on: Disney+ Hotstar
Runtime: 146 minutes.
A happy go lucky guy Jaggi (Sunny) inspired by the love story of a man whose wedding he gatecrashes, falls in love with a girl Kartika (Radhika). He meets her at a sports camp. Soon after they fall for each other and take things ahead, he gets to know Kartika is about to get married. Major ‘agar woh meri hai to laut aaegi’ throwback, he let’s her go and puts a weird bet. Taking his chance he decides to swim oceans and scale mountains (for real) to see if she’s still waiting. I am definitely not telling you if she was waiting or not!
Shiddat Movie Review: Script Analysis
There was a phase in Bollywood when modern new-age Majnus and their Junooni Ishq had overshadowed everything, literally everything. Thank Kunal Deshmukh to be an active contributor with Jannat (Not 2) and Kalyug (as AD). The filmmaker is so obsessed with the concept that he ended up naming his latest flick Shiddat, meaning rampancy, passion.
Joining the army, Shridhar Raghavan (War, Criminal Justice, Khakee), Dheeraj Rattan (Bhangra Paa Le) write the screenplay. If you ask the Bollywood loving kid in me, Shiddat is the perfect template to bring him to the theatre. A peppy music album, a story that is crazy and far away from the real world and actors who know their job nicely. But how to hold me is a question Shiddat fails to answer.
Periodically it is of course important we take a breather and watch typical Bollywood dramas where we surrender ourselves to 2 hours of pop culture. Shiddat does that too. There is a mad lover (not Kabir Singh level mad, Jannat kind of mad), who is so obsessed with the lady love that he decides to go to London without a visa. There is a girl who has agency, thank god. There is another love story that looks the best on the surface but is broken inside with time. So you see the ingredients are perfect, but not the glue that will join them all.
Shridhar and Dheeraj take the non-linear route to tell their story that begins with the lover amid the mountains, as he is trying to reach his love. We then go into the flashbacks and see what happened. Nothing wrong with taking that route, but to excel it you need to be Mani Ratnam, or Shaad Ali, you know what I mean. Technically, these are three stories in one, 2 that of Sunny and Radhika pre and post their separation and 1 of Mohit and Diana. If you look closely you might observe you can watch them all separately like short films and nothing would bother you. Remember the glue I spoke about?
Pooja Ladha Surti (Andhadhun) joins the two writers for dialogues. And they together do an impressive job. They cater what’s needed for a drama like this and the work is done.
But let’s discuss logic. It’s 2021 Jaggi, you just don’t show up thousands of miles far from home without informing them beforehand. Of course, he is denied a visa and he takes the Dora The Explorer route, but wouldn’t it have been more convenient to call Kartika from India? How is Jaggi always groomed, even while travelling through mountains without resources? Also, why is no one in Jaggi’s family bothered about his whereabouts?
The climax is shaped up to be the biggest twist but it’s a bit too convenient. Won’t spoil but you will observe too.
Shiddat Movie Review: Star Performance
Another Kaushal from the talented mill, Sunny knows his job well. Having been a fan of the actor since Gold (yes, he was in there. Go check), he surrenders himself to Jaggi. Here is a guy who calls Kerala, ‘Karela’, he loves so unconditionally that he ends up in the freezing water far away from the shore. He has to become mad to enact him and Sunny shines. Watch out for the vulnerable moments, boy has a range.
Radhika Madan can sleepwalk through Kartika, because she has done more complex characters already. She does it with ease and I enjoyed it. Mohit Raina is also here and gets a meatier second half. He becomes the big brother Jaggi never had and forms a bond that is visible.
Finally, Diana Penty! Why on Earth is not she taking up more projects? Her screen presence is so radiant and her crying so natural. We need more of you Diana.
Shiddat Movie Review: Direction, Music
Kunal Deshmukh’s direction is stuck in the times he actively worked. He experiments less and takes the safe routes more. I understand a lot of it was on the paper already, but joining the blocks was also a part of the execution process and the editing department. He tries to get into the whole immigration market and the refugee politics, but only surface level. Again convenient.
Costume department, gift me all Sunny Kaushal’s clothes, please! The styling is beautiful and suits the parts. Cinematography by Amalendu Chaudhary is staple. It gets creative during the dance number and mountains, but then that’s just 25-30 minutes of the film.
Music by Sachin Jigar is peppy and in sync with the Indian pop culture. Not going to lie, even a die-hard Rahman fan in me found myself grooving to three numbers including the title track, Barbaadiyan and the rendition of the iconic Akhiyan Udeek Diyan. Rest are good too but can’t really bet on them in the long run.
Shiddat Movie Review: The Last Word
No kidding when I said the music album is peppier. I wrote this entire review with Barbaadiyan in the background. The title track ends on the line “Tujhko Sazaa Aur Adaalat Banalu”, I hope half of the passion gone into writing this line was used to enhance the screenplay more. Shiddat could have been a perfect entertainer.
Shiddat releases on October 1, 2021.
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