Luka Chuppi (2019) Review!!

Synopsis – It tells the story of a television reporter in Mathura who falls in love with a headstrong woman.

My Take – With the recent success of films like Dum Lagake Haisha, Bareilly Ki Barfi, Shubh Mangal Saavdhan, and Badhai Ho, Bollywood filmmakers have seemed to find a new success formula. By placing a fresh story line and the lead pair into a small town backdrop where the Indian society is largely still stuck in its orthodox ways, along with ample of doses of satire, these relatable stories have managed to strike a chord big time with the dominant middle class section of the country and abroad.

Here, the film highlights ‘live-in relationship’, a topic which is still frowned upon in India, but unlike Salaam Namaste, director Laxman Utekar takes more of simplistic and formulaic approach, by making a breezy entertainer that is easy on the eyes and the general mirth infectious.

While the trailer hints towards about discussing the difficulties of a couple who wants to hide their live-in relationship status in a conservative society, it turns out the film was slightly different from that. With political statements getting plugged in, this Kartik Aaryan and Kriti Sanon starrer ensures that you have a good time in those 126 minutes. While the screenplay by Rohan Shankar can easily being deemed weak, the film is load itself with consistent comedy and a few scenes are sure to leave you laughing hard.

The story follows Guddu Shukla (Kartik Aaryan), a local television star of a cable network in Mathura, where he lives a stable life with his joint middle class family. When Rashmi Trivedi (Kriti Sanon), a budding journalist from Delhi also joins the network in hopes to learn the craft of the profession, the two quickly fall in love. While Guddu, the youngest in family, despite an older unmarried brother at home, is often caught in the drama, he is convinced about being ready to settle down with Rashmi that is until he finds out that Rashmi being the modern and outspoken woman, thinks otherwise.

Unsure of a commitment such a marriage, Rashmi proposes the idea of exploring their new relation further by moving in instead, which Guddu hesitatingly accepts. However, the catch is that Rashmi’s father, Vishnu (Vinay Pathak), an ambitious local politician, seems to have found his latest agenda to win votes in the upcoming elections. Ever since Nazim Khan (Abhinav Shukla), a Bollywood star declared his support for live-in relationships, Vishnu and his lackeys have turned themselves into a brutal form of moral police and waged war on couples who do not respect the sanctity of marriage.

Despite the potential danger, Guddu and Rashmi, with the help of Guddu’s best bud and cameraman, Abbas (Aparshakti Khurana), find them a place in Gwalior, were they could test newly blossomed love while pretending as a newly married couple. That is until the ruse fires back on them when Babulal (Pankaj Tripathi), Guddu’s elder brother’s brother-in-law, finds them and brings the whole family along. But couple’s real struggle begins as they try to convert their sham marriage into a real one.

Now don’t blame me for revealing the story, as almost all of this was there in the trailer. This 126 minute long film isn’t really excited about building a solid relationship between the characters. Director Laxman Utekar’s vision is crystal i.e. he wants to tell a story about two people in love and demands why that’s such a bad thing. All they want to do is to live together before they actually get married.

The biggest strength of the film is its concept of live-in which resonates with every millennial. Picking up instances from day to day life, without making a political statement on face, the film manages to hit the right chords. The trailers promised to make you laugh and keep you at the edge of your seats the whole time and it does exactly that. Yes, the film delivers laughs galore.

The witty dialogues from star to end gives us the laughter medicine throughout its running time and director Laxman Utekar has done a fine job by putting out a thoughtful situational comedy. My favorite pick from the lot would be the Sajan Ghar Main Chali song from Hum Aapke Hain Kaun playing in the background, as Guddu is seen bidding farewell to his family (just like brides post wedding) as he heads to explore the world of “live-in” relationship. The scene evokes a lot of laughter without making it cringing whilst making a stand-alone statement, which worked for me. While the film is mainly youth oriented, he has made sure that it doesn’t rely on any form of double-meaning jokes for a good laugh.

Although, one must give credit where its due as the film attempts to be progressive in many ways. The girl in the story is gutsier than the boy and even though predictability seeps in the second half, you root for the girl who gives the boy the courage to speak up and do right. It also takes a sly dig at the society where a frowning priest looks at Abbas, he says that ‘I am not from a different world, I am just Muslim’. In one scene the lead pair suddenly break into a monologue about what the youth actually wants to vis-a-vis what the leaders think they want. And it was good to see a mainstream commercial entertainer with bankable stars taking a dig at the right wing moral policing forces of UP and MP.

Though the makers had a good concept in hand, they fail to make the most of it. The story of the film lacks steam which could have made it a memorable watch. In an attempt to straddle well between being modern yet not be “too progressive,” writer Rohan Shankar appears to have stretched the film and looks confused which reflects in the story-line. While the story is the main highlight, it lacks originality when it comes to songs and often succumbs to cater to the conventional cinema-goers.

Another element that doesn’t make much sense is how the main problem of both the protagonists is merely to offer the ritual. For two individuals who are empowered and irreverent enough to dare to live life on their own terms, this is a bit of an inconsistency.

Yet despite everything it’s the performances which hold the film together, mainly the leads. Kartik Aaryan has a childlike charm to him that makes him impossible to dislike, ignore or forget. There’s kindness in his eyes, honesty in his laugh and simplicity in his demeanor that makes him likeable and extremely engaging, like a younger Akshay Kumar. While he has been denied his signature breathless monologues but his earnest good boy expressions as he tries to handle his family and the situations, is quite entertaining.

Kriti Sanon also executes her role effortlessly. She’s naturally stylish, easy-going in her manner and appears thoroughly urban without trying, which makes her a perfect fit for a smart, modern young woman struggling with orthodox norms. She for her part is vivacious and high spirited throughout.

But yet again it is Aparshakti Khurrana who proves why he is a power-packed performer. His punch lines and comic timing really set the mood of the film. While Pankaj Tripathi, isn’t used to his full capacity here but whenever he is in the frame, he brightens it up. In supporting roles, Vinay Pathak, Atul Srivastava, Alka Amin, Himanshu Kohli, Vishwanath Chatterjee, Neha Saraf, Arun Singh and Ajeet Singh are also good. On the whole, ‘Luka Chuppi’ is a breezy entertainer which deserves a watch for its relatable humor and strong performances.

Directed – Laxman Utekar

Starring – Kartik Aaryan, Kriti Sanon, Aparshakti Khurana

Rated – PG13

Run Time – 126 minutes

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