Balaji Motion Pictures and Pritish Nandy Communications’ Shaadi Ke Side/Effects (UA) is the story of a married couple. It takes a comical look at married life. Siddharth Roy alias Sid (Farhan Akhtar) and Trisha (Vidya Balan) are married and doing fine till they realise one day that Trisha is pregnant with their first child, un­planned. Since Sid is a struggling musician and Trisha is a career woman, the two at first decide to abort the child as they are not yet ready for parenthood, financially and even otherwise. But then they decide against abortion. Sid’s life goes for a toss after the birth of their daughter, Mili. For one, Trisha decides to give up her career for motherhood. Not only does her life now start revolving around Mili but she also expects Sid to help in raising the child, something and in a manner Sid was not prepared for.

Sid has to slowly but surely give up on all that he likes to do just so that Mili can be brought up properly. Driven to despair one day, he confides in his co-brother, Ranvir (Ram Kapoor), who offers him tips on how to save his married life by resorting to small lies when dealing with wife Trisha. Ranvir also tells Sid that he (Ranvir) has been practising what he has asked Sid to do.

Sid does as instructed and sees a positive change in his married life. But then, things start going out of hand. Trisha gets friendly to a neighbour, Shekhar (Purab Kohli), much to Sid’d horror. Trisha also hires the services of a maid servant (Ila Arun) to look after Mili in spite of Sid not being able to afford her.

All hell breaks loose one day when Sid confides in Trisha and confesses about the lies he had been telling her. Shocked and shaken, Trisha packs Sid off. After a few days, Trisha tells Sid about her second pregnancy. Sid is shocked beyond words. What happens thereafter? Do Sid and Trisha come back together? If so, how? If not, why not? What are the tips Ranvir gives Sid? What is the truth about Ranvir? Why is Sid shell-shocked when Trisha tells him that she is expecting her second child?

Zeenat Lakhani and Saket Chaudhary have penned a story which is inherently funny as it deals with the bitter-sweet relationship of a man and his wife. Their screenplay (additional screenplay by Arshad Syed) is also very funny as situations from day-to-day lives of married couples are used to convey the comedy. Alongside the screenplay, Arshad Syed’s dialogues also help a great deal in creating comedy. The first half, in particular, has a lot of hilarious moments which would be loved by the youngsters mainly. There are points before interval when the drama dips and begins to drag but, in spite of that, the overall impact is positive – again mainly for the youth – because it makes the audience laugh at a lot of places. However, many of the comic scenes are more class-appealing than meant for the masses because the backdrop is very city-centric where the husband is supposed to help the wife in household chores and in looking after the child’s needs, something which the audience in smaller towns will not appreciate for obvious reasons. Another very important reason why a large chunk of the audience may not be able to enjoy the comedy is because a big hue and cry is made of a very normal – and, in the Indian context, a pious – part of life, which the birth of a child is. The comic take on married life after the birth of a child, who, in a manner of speaking, is considered a burden by husband Sid, will leave a bitter taste in the mouth of many of the viewers. This will go a great deal against the film’s box-office business. 

The second part of the film is not half as funny as the first part because the writers change tracks. Actually, it would not be wrong to say that Ranvir’s track of advising Sid greatly bogs down the drama. Whenever Sid turns to Ranvir for guidance, the film loses its grip on the viewers – probably because the audience is not sure whether Ranvir is serious (as it appears) or is simply fooling (as would be the assumption in a comedy like this). Besides, for Sid to blindly accept what Ranvir tells him appears a bit childish and far-fetched. Towards the end, when the truth about Ranvir is revealed, the audience starts to actually hate Sid.

Similarly, what Trisha tells Sid while informing him of her second pregnancy shocks the viewers and would even agitate a section of them. Although Trisha does set the record straight later, the harm is done by then because what she reveals (about the second pregnancy) in the beginning is difficult to digest and will be found repulsive – repeat, repulsive – by many. Equally unpalatable is Sid’s willingness to accept the same. All in all, the second half goes off-track as the writers seem to be lost. The track of Manav (Vir Das) is too class-appealing so that while the audience frequenting the top-end multiplexes would love it, the other viewers would not care too much for it. The post-interval portion also app­ ears to be too stretched and packed with just too much. In short, the post-interval portion is very weak.

Had the film maintained its fun element right till the end and probably added only a dash of seriousness, the results would’ve been better. With the writers having tried to make the last part of the drama not just serious but also emotional, they seem to have diluted the impact of the comedy. Dialogues, as mentioned above, are the film’s mainstay and the dialogue writer deserves all praise for his sense of comedy.

Farhan Akhtar does a fantastic job of Sid. His comic sense of timing and facial expressions are excellent. Vidya Balan is also simply outstanding, playing the character of Trisha to perfection. Her facial expressions, body language, dialogue delivery, even pauses are terrific, all adding up to a memorable performance. Vir Das excels in a special appearance and his acting is very unusual and effortless. Ram Kapoor does justice to his role. His dialogues in different foreign languages provide superb comedy. Rati Agnihotri leaves a mark in the short role of Trisha’s mother. Ila Arun does a very fine job. Gautami Kapoor is very good as Ranvir’s wife. Purab Kohli has his moments. He is suitably restrained. Nitesh Pandey leaves a mark as the hotel manager. Vishwesh Krishnamoorty, Naozad Patel and Sarfaraz Khan lend able support as Sid’s friends. Naveen Kaushik (as music producer Vikram), baby Anushka Gavad, baby Mahi Bhanushali, baby Aayra Mehta, baby Angel Fernandes, baby Pranjal Parab and baby Hetavi Bhanushali (all as Mili of different ages) provide good support. Nilofer Raza, master Neel Tyagi and master Darsheel Kumar (both as Ranvir’s son, Harshvardhan), Bacchan Pachera (as the horseman), Aditi Roymaelzer (as the nurse), Nabeel Ahmed (as the pizza delivery boy) and Manasi Kulkarni (as the hotel manager’s wife) provide very good support.

Saket Chaudhary’s direction is very good but it is also a fact that the script would appeal only to a section of the youth and the city-based audience frequenting top-end multiplexes. Music (Pritam) is not upto the mark. While two songs – ‘Harry’s not a brahmachari’ and ‘Tauba main vyah karke pachhtaya’ – are well-tuned, the other songs are dull and actually come as unnecessary interventions. ‘Ahista ahista’ (composed by Mikey McCleary) is ordinary. Lyrics (Swanand Kirkire, Amitabh Bhattacharya, Mayur Puri and Ankur Tewari) are quite alright. The choreography (by Rajeev Surti and Remo D’souza) of the two aforementioned well-tuned songs leaves an impression. Mikey McCleary’s background music is superb. Javed-Aejaz’s action is okay. Camerawork (Manoj Lobo and Rishi Punjabi) is appropriate. Sukant Panigrahi’s sets are alright. Editing (Amitabh Shukla and Sanjay Sharma) is sharp.

On the whole, Shaadi Ke Side/Effects is entertaining fare for the youngsters and the class audience but only upto a point, after which the entertainment quotient goes down completely. It will, therefore, not be able to achieve much at the box-office. The start is not upto the mark and although collections will pick up in the high-end multiplexes during the weekend, business in smaller centres and single-screen cinemas will be way below the mark. Flop.

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