Image: Official poster of Running Shaadi.com
Running Shaadi opens with so much promise. Amit Sadh, playing Ram Bharose, a Bihari migrant employed at a garments shop in Amritsar, has been silently carrying a torch for his boss’ daughter Nimmi (Tapsee Pannu). This feisty young girl, aware of Bharose’s feelings for her, has made it a habit to rely on him for everything, including, on this occasion, help with an unwanted pregnancy. ((pause))
But Running Shaadi has very little interest in negotiating the complicated dynamics of their relationship. The film is fashioned as a romantic comedy, and humor is mined out of scenarios that arise after Bharose and his friend Cyberjeet (Arsh Bajwa) set up a company that helps couples in love to elope and marry. ((pause))
It’s another interesting idea, but the film’s director Amit Roy and writer Navjote Gulati never let a good thing be. The stakes are raised again when Nimmi and the two young men find themselves hotfooting it all the way from Amritsar to Dalhousie and then to Patna, although by now the script has become unnecessarily convoluted. To be fair, the Patna portions are the best in the film, thanks in no small part to the excellent Brijendra Kala who plays Bharose’s uncle, a small-time local videographer who has committed his nephew’s hand in marriage to the daughter of a Doordarshan official. The idea being that the father of the bride will pass his pilot when the couple is married. ((pause))
There are several moments of ingenuity and laugh-out-loud humor in Running Shaadi, including one in which the family of a bride-to-be urges their daughter to demonstrate her singing skills to the groom’s family who have come visiting. Another is a scene in which a pair of lovers disguised in burkhas, is spied upon by our protagonists, who’re also disguised in burkhas. In addition to the comedy, Roy captures the texture of small town India with a sharp eye. Tapsee Pannu makes a big impression as a young woman who knows what she wants, and isn’t shy of making a play for it. ((pause))
But the film is ultimately weighed down by its choppy editing and inconsistent screenplay. The very conceit of the ‘eloping business’ set up by Bharose and his friend is quickly abandoned, never to be mentioned again. Also, much of the film is in impenetrable Punjabi which needs subtitles to be understood. And Bharose’s sidekick, the tech-genius sardar with the Facebook logo on his turban, gets way more screen time than he deserves. ((pause))
In the end Running Shaadi is amusing, but only in fits and starts. Frankly the only ones running will be you towards the exit door when the lights come back on in the end. I’m going with a generous two out of five.
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