Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga (ELKDTAL) is an unexpected love story.
Sweety (Sonam Kapoor) has to contend with her over-enthusiastic family that wants to get her married, a young writer who is completely smitten by her and a secret that she harbours close to her heart.
Ultimately, Sweety bears in mind that the truth of her true love might not find acceptance in her family and society.
Resolving these issues proves hilarious, touching and life-changing.
From the promos, this Shelly Chopra Dhar film promises to be a refreshing, relevant and realistic film.
Filme Shilmy shares their view on this Anil-Sonam-Rajkummar starrer.
Taboo-Breaking Effort by Director Shelly Chopra Dhar
ELKDTAL is a refreshing film which does not only exhibit same-sex relationships, but it also tackles other taboo subjects like interfaith marriages.
Shelly Chopra Dhar competently avoids making an archetypical, larger-than-life Bollywood film.
As such, she doesn’t try to make the film ‘bold’ by exhibiting unnecessary nudity or profanity. Dhar keeps it real and conveys the message of acceptance in a feathery way.
Whether it’s the moment that Sweety comes out to her family or Sahil (Rajkummar Rao), these sensitive sequences are handled delicately and maturely.
A special mention goes to writer Gazal Dhaliwal, whose dialogues are striking and thought-provoking.
Dialogues such as: “From that day, I knew I had to hide my truth… Why does everybody follow a single-tracked mind?” emphasise the isolation and suffocation every LGBTQ+ person faces.
It is such lines and situations which make the film highly relatable to every person from the community.
The fact that some people even today regard sexuality as abnormal or as an illness is quite worrying. ELKDTAL is a befitting response to that narrow-mindedness of society.
Whilst focusing on a film which is based on the acceptance of female same-sex relationships, Dhar and writer Gazal Dhaliwal maintains the balance of educating the audience, as well as narrating an emotional story.
Given that this is a Vidhu Vinod Chopra production, there are hints of his cinematic prowess with films like 1942: A Love Story and Kareeb in this movie.
There is also the vibe of an old-school romance and this reaches out to the general audience, especially the small-town viewers.
Subsequently, the angle of homosexuality adds an element of freshness to the film.
Excellent Choice of Actors
Shelly assembles a bunch of talented actors on a mainstream level that too for a film on LGBTQ+ is a BIG deal. This is perhaps the first/initial Bollywood film to do so.
The casting is interesting.
On one hand, we have a Theatre writer/director Sahil Mirza (Rajkummar Rao) who is accepting of Sweety’s sexuality.
On the other hand, there is the caterer Chatro (Juhi Chawla), a divorcee who has a liberal mind.
Both of these parallel characters are the beacons of change.
Juhi and Rajkummar do a great job in helping to progress the narrative.
Sonam Kapoor Ahuja makes a sincere endeavour in portraying Sweety.
It’s a brave effort of Sonam to choose a role which other mainstream actresses would not even consider.
This is perhaps her best work yet.
It is fascinating to see how Sweety’s exterior is of a girl-next-door and yet is in love with a girl.
One must give credit to the team of the film in this ordinary and realistic portrayal.
Anil Kapoor, as always is top-notch. He brings subtlety in playing Sweety’s dad, Balbir Chaudhary.
It’s different to see that he doesn’t essay a typical hot-headed Bollywood father.
Plus, his chemistry with Juhi is quite cute and amiable.
It is quite nostalgic to see the legendary actors back on celluloid after a hiatus.
A special mention goes to Regina Cassandra who portrays Sweety’s love interest, Kuhu.
Cassandra has a strong screen presence and is a promising actor.
Undoubtedly, there are a lot of positives and we must, in all circumstances celebrate Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga.
However, several areas, including the technical aspects have some room for improvements.
The editing and transitioning into different scenes could be a lot smoother and crisper.
It would’ve been better if Sweety came out to her family under more realistic and authentic circumstances.
This would have made the whole situation less of a ‘spectacle’, per se and yet the intensity of the scene would make an impact.
Perhaps the build-up to the climax is a bit too simplistic.
More development on the bond between Sweety and the father could’ve enhanced the poignant effect of this parent-child relationship.
Having said that, the film does not drag nor does it move at a snail pace.
On the whole, Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga is an important film in Bollywood today.
It is a brave endeavour in breaking the stereotypes regarding conventional love-stories.
Now that section 377 has been abolished, let’s hope that more filmmakers also muster the courage and confidence in bringing narratives revolving same-sex relationships.