Movie Review: Shaadi Ke Side Effects

February 28, 2014

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)

Saket Chaudhary seems to be a fan of sitcoms and SMS jokes. He combines the two to put together a script and make “Shaadi Ke Side Effects”, a movie about the modern Indian marriage, where men are trying to escape and women are obsessed with their children.

Chaudhary, who also directed the film’s 2006 prequel “Pyaar Ke Side Effects”, resorts to a heap of clichés and jaded jokes, most of which you have heard before and some which might seem offensive. Sporadically, the film manages to find a funny spot, thanks to Farhan Akhtar’s comic timing, but for the most part, “Shaadi Ke Side Effects” is a series of sitcom episodes strung together to make a full-length movie.

Sid and Trisha are the “yuppie couple” whose marriage is chronicled from their carefree days to their transition to parents and caregivers. Chaudhary chooses to tell the story from the man’s point of view, making Vidya Balan’s character purely ornamental, except towards the end.

Farhan’s character is on a mission to “save” his marriage throughout the film. First, he wants to save it from the drudgery that parenting brings, then from a neighbour who takes an unnatural interest in his wife, and finally, from his own insecurities.

Some of this is funny, thanks to Akhtar, even though the dialogue isn’t exactly original. Balan doesn’t have much to do, and is reduced to a caricature of a wife, one who lets herself go after giving birth, is obsessed with her offspring, and announces at the film’s beginning that if husbands insist on working late, then wives have no option other than to watch television all day long.

Chaudhary introduces several characters, including a crazy, out-of-work actor in Vir Das; a controlling nanny in Ila Arun; and Trisha’s disapproving mother in Rati Agnihotri. But these characters appear episodically, as and when the situation demands it. We never get a sense of Sid and Trisha’s marriage, which is what the film supposedly revolves around, and none of the issues depicted seem serious enough for the crisis depicted towards the end.

There is a funny idea in here somewhere, and it is good enough for a sitcom. But when you stretch it into a two-and-half-hour film, things are bound to get dull. If you are one of those people who enjoy the jokes that appear in your SMS inbox, perhaps you might enjoy this film. If not, avoid this one.

(Follow Shilpa on Twitter at @shilpajay. This article is website-exclusive and cannot be reproduced without permission)


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