11 February 2011 | Peter_Young
Anushka's shining moment, Ranveer's shining start, and their ultimate wedding spree
Maneesh Sharma's directorial debut Band Baaja Baaraat is one of the year's most refreshing and entertaining films. It is a charming romance filled with colour, energy and pep. The movie can be easily set apart from all the recent films made by Yash Raj Films, in that it is very simple and it actually shows the beauty of India through its two main characters of young wedding planners, who unexpectedly (for them), fall in love. Sharma's direction is absolutely marvelous, and the film is totally benefited from the fantastic sets, props and costumes, which give the film an authentic feel, along with the characters which look more like real people rather than cinematic heroes. This very portrayal and the script had actually more weight for me in making the movie work. The narrative style makes for a fun watch, and that's thanks to the dialogues and the catchy songs. The film's first half is more of an ornamental wedding spree. And it is towards the second half when the story takes the audience by surprise and turns into a romantic drama that is quite moving and interesting.
While watching the movie, it is quite inspiring to see how young people from relatively traditional middle-class families strive to make a career on their own. Rarely do we see in Indian films such young people starting to run their own independent business, particularly when all they have is willpower and faith in their abilities. The growing prosperity of the main characters' business is interesting to watch, mainly because it's not made to look forcedly larger than life, but rather real and gradual. Thinking about wedding planning, one would certainly expect to see some lavish, over-the-top ceremonies, but here everything is lifelike and genuine, and yet colourful and impressively creative. As for the love story, it is incorporated into the story efficiently. The musical duo Salim-Sulaiman significantly contribute to the film's mood with a great list of tracks, among which the energetic "Ainvayi Ainvayi" is rightly the most popular. "Dumm Dumm" is also very good and is wonderfully performed on-screen. My favourite numbers are the romantic "Aadha Ishq" and the melancholic "Mitra".
The movie stars two young actors. The role of the male lead is played by newcomer Ranveer Singh, and he makes a confident debut, playing his character's different shades exceedingly well, at times so well that throughout the movie it is hard to believe it is his debut performance. But without a doubt, it is Anushka Sharma who dominates the proceedings with her wonderfully natural performance. Just like her male costar, she commendably masters the dialect of a street smart Delhi Punjabi girl, but more than anything, it is her sensitive portrayal of Shruti's feisty nature, pain and strength that stands out. Moreover, Ranveer and Anushka's chemistry is fantastic. Just watch the scene in which the two of them are standing drunk in front of each other in the dark room. Director Sharma handles the scene very well, creating the right amount of romantic tension, using some really soothing music in the background, and of course the two young leads play the shy nature of the moment with conviction. It is one of the beautiful scenes in the film (and I'm actually not one of those romantic fools).
Towards the last portions of the second half, the movie gets more emotional, at times too much but thankfully unlike many bland attempts made in recent films in which everything turns into ancient melodrama, here it works. The scene in which Shruti fearlessly and honestly reveals her true feelings without blinking an eye is terrific - again, superbly acted by Sharma. Singh's reaction is also very real and believable. This scene captures much of their potential. With this film Anushka establishes herself as a capable actress, and I believe she will now be flooded with offers for demanding parts. As for Ranveer, this movie may well put him on the map as one of the most competent young actors today, and I personally find him more promising than most of the guys who have debuted in recent years. The film's ending is nice albeit a tad too sentimental. The situation itself is relatable, but it could have been better done. Still, Band Baaja Baaraat works more for its youthful, lighthearted and effervescent mood, and is overall a worthy feature which makes for a pleasant watch.