Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga Movie Review: Take it with a pinch of love

Updated: Feb 02, 2019, 17:21 IST | Mohar Basu

Sonam Kapoor plays Sweety with charm and earnestness, and is yet uninhibited when she must be fierce. It takes courage to back a script of this nature, and she gets full marks for doing so

Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga Movie Review: Take it with a pinch of love
A still from the movie Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga

Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga
U/A: Drama, Comedy, Romance
Director: Shelly Chopra Dhar
Cast: Sonam Kapoor, Anil Kapoor, Juhi Chawla, Rajkummar Rao
Rating: Three stars

Towards the film’s climax, Rajkummar Rao, who plays playwright Saahil Mirza in the film, tells those watching his play to do so ‘from the heart’. It’s imperative that we follow this instruction, because, like with every Bollywood film, it’s easy to dismiss this one on many technical frailties. But, what you can’t fault, is its intention to depict a love story for what it truly is — a love story. Why does it matter if it is about a woman falling in love with another woman?

Written beautifully by the prolific Gazal Dhaliwal, Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga breaks perceptions to introduce to us what normal truly implies — being compassionate about one another’s uniqueness. The point, in this case, isn’t to merely celebrate homosexuality and treat it as the regular. It attempts to reiterate that even personal choices, like those of marriage, career, or love, must be respected. Being rendered claustrophobic shouldn’t be the outcome of accepting an emotion that goes against the tide of societal norms. The narrative’s tapestry is woven with care and compassion; it evidently comes from a personal space, for Dhaliwal.

Watch the trailer here...

The film kicks off with a play about love in the age of Tinder. Leading lady Sonam K Ahuja’s Sweety brutally criticises this as “upar-upar ki love story”. Sweety is forced to live a life of shame. A closeted lesbian, she struggles to come to terms with her own orientation. Her family’s unwillingness to acknowledge it, a brother who pressurises her to ‘fix’ herself, and persistent loneliness, makes her journey cumbersome.

Sonam plays Sweety with charm and earnestness, and is yet uninhibited when she must be fierce. It takes courage to back a script of this nature, and she gets full marks for doing so. Rao’s Saahil shows compassion in his scenes with Sweety. Another cast-member, Anil Kapoor is affable. Given that he is as closeted as his daughter in the film — Anil’s character is a chef at heart who is stuck in a business of garment — the final scene of acceptance seems to come from a place of empathy.

What doesn’t work, however, is director Shelly Chopra Dhar’s constant ploy to whip up mystery around Sweety’s orientation. Her big revelation comes with orchestrated music, a futile attempt given that the title and trailer are revealing of the plot. There is also a latent desire to underplay the theme. Sweety’s partner, Kuhu (played beautifully by Regina Cassandra) gets a mere 15 minutes of screen time. Yet, it doesn’t particularly take away from the final product.

Commendably, Dhar manages to keep the film from becoming preachy. But, what she achieves with this feat, she instantly loses when Sweety says Saahil must be a saviour for others like her. It is offensive, given that it treats heterosexuals as the all-powerful, while the unique as those who need rescuing. Despite the faltering and the flaws, this one is a hit for every romantic. It’s never too late to celebrate love without labels, right?

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Movie Review- Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga

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