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Saturday, September 30, 2023

Shaandaar- Movie Review: A fairy tale of rubbish!

‘Queen’ director Vikas Bahl, Shahid-Alia’s pairing, Karan Johar’s production and Anurag Kashyap’s production… So what’s all the hype about?! The hype was for the expectation of a fun, LOL, heart-touching movie. So does SHAANDAAR (meaning ‘splendour’) live up to this hype? With regret, not at all. In fact, it’s like a fizzy drink with ZERO taste!

Shandaar movie poster

Director: Vikas Bahl

Cast: Shahid Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Pankaj Kapur, Sanah Kapoor, Sushma Seth.

Synopsis: Alia Bhatt as Alia is an illegitimate child of Bipin (Pankaj Kapur). She is an insomniac and a quirky character. During her sister’s (Sanah Kapoor) wedding festivities in Scotland she falls in love with Jaginder Joginder (Shahid Kapoor), the wedding planner… And then what happens? It remains a mystery till date!

What’s good?

  1. Alia Bhatt and Shahid Kapoor’s performances (individually)

If there’s anything good, and I mean ANYTHING at all… It’s probably the performances of the main actors. Essaying the role of a quirky insomniac, Alia Bhatt seems completely natural and amiable. She has reached that stage where she can portray pretty much any role, and I’m sure she will excel in her upcoming projects! I would also like to say that her character resembles Parineeti Chopra’s in HASEE TOH PHASEE and makes us like the character too!

It’s a known fact that Shahid is a dancer par excellence and his dashing looks and charm is definitely eye-candy. Furthermore, after HAIDER, this is a complete opposite role. I would say his performance was good. During ‘some’ humorous quotients, he is natural.

2. Some memorable tracks and the location

The most foot-tapping songs are ‘Shaam Shandaar’ and ‘Gulaabo’. These two tracks stick with you after you leave the cinema. They’re already chartbusters! Plus, it was great seeing a few familiar faces in the dance sequences! 

Shahid Kapoor and Alia Bhatt in the song ‘Gulaabo’

If (by now) your not asleep, perhaps the picturesque view or the sets in Leeds might brighten you up! 

What’s bad?

3. The not-so-sizzling chemistry!

I previously mentioned that individually Shahid and Alia’s performances were good. However, I’m not quite impressed with their chemistry. For some reason, that ‘spark’ was missing. For example, if you watch her chemistry with Varun Dhawan in HUMPTY SHARMA KI DULHANIYA or even with Arjun Kapoor in 2 STATES, (likewise for Shahid in previous films) and you’ll notice that the spunkiness is missing! At times I felt the banter sequences between Shahid and father, Pankaj Kapoor was more spicier! (I think you’re better off finding more spellbinding sparks from the fireworks during Dussehra!)

3. What else is bad? Everything else!                                                                          

I mean throughout the film, the whole idea of screenplay and story flies out the window. There was absolutely no structure!  Half the time there were pretty animated bugs flying around, yet there would be a cigarette-smoking Shahid Kapoor and a few sexual references. So is it a fairy tale, an animation movie or a splendour version of Sonam Kapoor’s KHOOBSURAT? I’m so confused!

Shahid and Alia in a romantic scene

Also, I understand that Anurag Kashyap has quirky characters in his films, but here most of them were WEIRD! For example, Sanjay Kapoor essays the role of an ‘affluent’ Sindhi businessman. Who seems to be wearing bling all the time. I mean the  character was so OTT with the gold… Even Akshay Kumar didn’t wear so much in his movie SINGH IS BLING! Along with this, there were several ‘WTF’ moments. Too many to list!

Overall, I never thought I’d be saying this, but SHAANDAAR is a colossal disappointment. A flat screenplay, pointless story, and some OTT performances the title of the itself is a juxtaposition to the movie! If your hoping for pure, royal and grandeur romance, then you are better off waiting for Rajshri’s PREM RATAN DHAN PAYO. An avoidable watch!

Anuj Radia
Journalist and film enthusiast.

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