Luka Chuppi Movie Review: Live-in moronic times, maybe?
Given a massive string of commercial successes, emanating from stories from Meerut, Agra, Kota, Lucknow, Kanpur and the like, a formula is bound to set in.
U/A: Romance, comedy
Dir: Laxman Utekar
Cast: Kriti Sanon, Kartik Aaryan, Pankaj Tripathi
If you ever needed a better proof of the fact that most 'star-actors' (especially the new-age ones) are inevitably over-rated, given that the success of their characters, or indeed their films, depends so much on the script: Well, here is one.
This picture stars Kartik Aaryan, lately anointed the rising star among millennials, largely on the back of three super-hit rom-coms in a row - Pyaar Ka Punchnama (2011), its sequel (2015), and Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety (2018) - by the same director (Luv Ranjan).
Social media, and of course the usual entertainment portals, have been fired up ever since, capturing his newly captive mass-base. He walks into a picture of a similar genre, with hardly a story, let alone a screenplay, and you can watch the same actor, looking dumbfounded, fumbling all over the frickin' place - much like his film. Which is about a girl, with a stock-expression (Kriti Sanon), taking stock of her young-adult life. She isn't quite ready to get married. But doesn't mind being with the guy she's just about met. She decides to live-in. For? 20-odd days, pretending to be married, in another town - sounds like a long vacation to me!
Either way, it's a logical step for a modern couple to take. Not for the characters in this movie, who live in seriously moronic times. Local news channels have gone berserk over, "Desh mein naya system aaya hai" - referring to an epidemic called live-in relationships! Goons, with the heroine's dad lording over them, are at every nook and corner, whacking/harassing couples over an inescapable pandemic. A top Khan Bollywood superstar has been boycotted/trolled nationwide for moving in with his girlfriend!
The hero-heroine in this pic play news reporters - continuously covering this earth-shattering story. Those behind the writing of this ultra-filmy picture were obviously born in PVR/Fun Republic. What happens next? Honestly, absolutely nothing. Or rather nothing that you may like to know, since the couple is still very much together, and their families seem okay with them being so forever. Eh?
This is supposed to be a comedy, exploring a perceived taboo, set in small-town India. Which, as a movie, is just the reverse from a decade and half ago, when Bollywood films just had to be set abroad, in order to do well - think Salaam Namaste (2005), also about a couple (Saif Ali Khan, Preity Zinta) living in, but in Melbourne!
Writer Javed Akhtar, an astute cultural observer, ascribes this shift towards small towns as a fairly settled, secure, migrant Indian middle-class finding solace in its roots or where it came from. Given a massive string of commercial successes, emanating from stories from Meerut, Agra, Kota, Lucknow, Kanpur and the like, a formula is bound to set in.
This picture is placed in Mathura and Gwalior. An ensemble cast of rustic faces, dressed down, attempt some semi-rural humour, with odd, local mannerisms, and 'horny uncle' sex jokes. There is mention of caste and religion for realism.
In walks Pankaj Tripathi, giving you a glimpse of how a performer can still rise above poor material - but only that much. Forget the audience, just wondering why/how they managed to chipkao this non-script on an actor, who's seriously in top form right now. Anyhoo, that's probably another story.
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