Prime Edition

Ravina Rawal

A clichéd but amusing take on marriage

1st Mar 2014

Shaadi Ke Side Effects

Director: Saket Chaudhary

Starring: Farhan Akhtar, Vidya Balan, Ram Kapoor and Vir Das

The secret of a happy relationship? Love, of course. No, wait, that's no good alone without trust and honesty. But maybe the real secret is respect? Unless it's all of the above. Or, umm...NOTA? Who knows?

We spend a fairly generous chunk of our lives trying to figure out how to secure our happy endings. In Saket Chaudhary's Shaadi ke Side Effects, we see a couple try their damnedest to hold on to what they have for about two and a half hours. And what they have is a great marriage. And lots of great sex. But with great sex comes great responsibility, and we wait with baited breath for Sid (Farhan Akhtar) and Trisha (Vidya Balan) to have predictable reactions to a positive pregnancy test result – she thinks they should have the baby, he says he isn't quite ready yet.

After a quick "should we-shouldn't we" conversation, and a chance encounter with a new father who ended up with quadruplets because he tried to delay things the first time around, Sid and Trisha finally decide to have the baby. Even though he hasn't recorded his first album yet, and she's on the verge of a promotion that she's going now to have to forego.

Initially reluctant, Sid eventually is all over this new baby plan, and takes to reading baby books, strapping on a water balloon to his stomach and eating as much as she does.When the baby actually comes, though, Sid tries and tries, but just can't seem to get anything right. And he and Trisha aren't what they used to be – she's obsessed with the baby, he's having something of a mid-life crisis. They've gone from 'Double Income, No Kids' to 'Single Income, No Sleep'. All of this leads to fights and frustrations and the confirmation of every single ridiculous suspicion an especially hormonal woman has ever had about her man.

It doesn't help that the entire thing is narrated basically from just the man's perspective – which is usually funnier, sure, because even though us women are the ones with all the alleged crazy-making hormones, they're the ones having panic attacks and behaving like they need to be institutionalised. But my only problem with the movie is that Trisha never gets to defend how she's being portrayed. We even somehow find it in ourselves forgive Sid for his many lies – something you'd find it almost impossible to do had the same story come out of your own boyfriend/husband's mouth. But because Sid is portrayed by the ridiculously charming Farhan Akhtar, who's always a pleasure to watch, we find it all very amusing.

If you can find a way to not take it personally and calm your inner feminist, Shaadi... is actually fairly enjoyable. It relies almost entirely on Balan and Akhtar, though they are ably supported by Vir Das, Ram Kapoor, Rati Agnihotri, Ila Arun and Purab Kohli – all of whom are clearly talented but have limited roles. The second half of the movie makes way for some slightly avoidable dramatics, but it doesn't make you want to stab the screen. What you do realise by the time credits roll, however, is that the secret of a happy marriage is probably just that – a secret.

-Ravina Rawal

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