×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Film Review: ‘Shaadi ke Side Effects’

Sitcom leftovers are artlessly reheated in this repetitive and exaggerated romantic comedy-drama about a newlywed couple.

With:

Farhan Akhtar, Vidya Balan, Ram Kapoor, Vir Das, Gautami Kapoor, Rati Agnihotri, Ila Arun, Purab Kohli, Hariharan. (Hindi dialogue)

It explains a lot when frustrated musician and new husband Sid (Farhan Akhtar) admits to a friend in “Shaadi ke Side Effects” (“Side Effects of Marriage”) that he does not watch much TV. That’s the only way he could possibly have missed the fact that every plot point hinges on exaggerated just-married “crises” that were done to death decades ago on TV sitcoms and in standup comedy routines. The often lively staging of writer-director Saket Chaudhary will keep viewers alert and hopeful for longer than viewers might expect, but at a Bollywood-mandated running time of almost 2½ hours, the film’s repetitive scenes of bickering and reconciliation become almost unbearable. You may find yourself rooting for divorce.

The wearying central issue of this impeccably upper-middle-class rom-dram-com, in which no one ever sweats a car payment or worries about healthcare costs, is how much truth a marriage can stand, and whether or not strategic white lies are required to maintain domestic tranquility. If there is anything new to be said on this subject in the early 21st century, “Shaadi ke Side Effects” does not find it.

Of course, jokes about pregnancy tests, latenight feedings, postpartum weight gain, baby monitors, alienated slacker pals (strikingly original cultural markers include videogames and pizza) and over-competitive dads at kids’ parties may seem fresher in India. Or perhaps they don’t, because even there, at the upscale urban multiplex theaters at which it seems squarely aimed, “Shaadi” did not open well, pulling a first-day gross of just a little more than $1 million.

“Shaadi” is a direct sequel to Chaudhary’s modestly successful “Pyaar ke Side Effects” (“Side Effects of Love,” 2006), but the two central roles have been recast, and it’s easy to see why. Both Akhtar (“Bhaag Milkha Bhaag”) and Vidya Balan (who won a National Film Award for actress for 2011’s “The Dirty Picture”) are extremely likable actors of considerable depth and subtlety; they’re playing smart people who seem genuinely to enjoy each other’s company, and there are flashes of real distress and anger, and a sense of what’s at stake, in their scenes together. The emotions they express when acting out a wrenching final twist, which turns out to be a groan-inducing cheat, offer us a fleeting glimpse of what these terrific actors might be able create together in a better movie.

Film Review: 'Shaadi ke Side Effects'

Reviewed at Laemmle Town Center 5, Encino, Calif., Feb. 27, 2014. Running time: 142 MIN.

Production:

(India) A Balaji Motion Pictures release presented with Pritish Nandy Communications of a Pritish Nandy Communications and Balaji Motion Pictures production. Produced by Shobha Kapoor, Ekta Kapoor, Pritish Nandy.

Crew:

Directed by Saket Chaudhary. Screenplay, Zeenat Lakham, Chaudhary; story, Lakham, Chaudhary. Camera (color, widescreen), Manoj Lobo; editor, Amitabh Sukla; music, Mikey McCleary; lyrics, Swanand Kirkire, Amitabh Bhattacharya, Maur Puri; production designer, Sukant Panigrahy; costume designer, Jayati Bose; sound designer, Ayush Ahuja; choreographers, Rajeev Surti, Remo S'Souza.

With:

Farhan Akhtar, Vidya Balan, Ram Kapoor, Vir Das, Gautami Kapoor, Rati Agnihotri, Ila Arun, Purab Kohli, Hariharan. (Hindi dialogue)

More Film

  • Bob Bakish Variety Cover Story

    Inside Bob Bakish's Aggressive Turnaround Plan for Viacom

    Bob Bakish was days into his job as CEO of Viacom in late 2016 when he began convening meetings with senior executives to execute a triage effort to save the once-mighty media giant. Paramount Pictures had just posted a $445 million annual loss. Viacom’s cable networks were in danger of being dropped by major distributors [...]

  • Assassin's Creed

    'Duke Nukem' Movie Draws 'Assassin's Creed' Producer

    A “Duke Nukem” movie is in the works with Gearbox Software teaming with “Assassin’s Creed” producer Jean-Julien Baronnet to adapt the video game into a feature film, Variety has learned exclusively. Gearbox had been working on “Duke Nukem” with Paramount Studios and Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes, with John Cena rumored as a possible star earlier [...]

  • Juliette Binoche Slack Bay

    Juliette Binoche Named Jury President of 2019 Berlin Film Festival

    Oscar-winning French actress Juliette Binoche will preside over the main jury at the 2019 Berlin Film Festival. Binoche is known worldwide for her work in such films as “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” and “Chocolat.” She won an Academy Award and a Silver Bear in Berlin for her role in Anthony Minghella’s “The English Patient,” [...]

  • Eklektik, Alba, Aramos Set Ventana Sur

    Ventana Sur: Belgium's Eklektik, Italy's Alba, Argentina's Aramos Co-Produce 'The Veil' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Belgian film house Eklektik Productions is teaming with Italy’s Alba Produzioni and Argentina’s Aramos Cine to co-produce Stefano Pasetto’s feature drama project “El velo” (The Veil). “The Veil” was presented at September’s San Sebastian Co-Production Forum and then chosen for pitching at the upcoming Proyecta showcase, a new joint initiative launched by Argentine film-TV market [...]

  • Ventana Sur: Latido Films Acquires Hari

    Ventana Sur: Latido Swoops on ‘This Is Not Berlin’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    BUENOS AIRES — In the first deal to be announced on a title in Ventana Sur’s three live-action feature competitions, Madrid-based Latido Films, headed by Antonio Saura, has acquired world rights outside Mexico on Hari Sama’s Copia Final contender “This Is Not Berlin.” Latido’s buy, celebrated with a handshake at Ventana Sur, effectively re-calibrates the [...]

  • Storyboard Media Announce David Albala’s ‘Viento

    Storyboard Media Announce David Albala’s ‘Viento Blanco’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    Chile’s Storyboard Media has announced an agreement to co-produce, along with Calibre71, Javier Valdés and Benjamin Vicuña, director David Albala’s second feature, “Viento Blanco.” (“White Wind”) Albala’s debut, “Jailbreak Pact,” turned on a dramatic real-life prison-break which took place in Santiago, Chile in 1990. That film was also produced by Calibre 71, and featured Chilean [...]

  • C International Sales, Pablo Solarz Ink

    C International Sales Inks Sales Representation Deal with Argentina’s Pablo Solarz (EXCLUSIVE)

    Argentina’s Pablo Salarz, one of Latin America’s best-known film and TV writer-directors, has entered a non-exclusive financing relationship with C International Sales, the international arm of Cinestaan Film Company. Although non-exclusive, the deal is an early example of international companies moving to court or tie-down key talent in Latin America. The deal was negotiated by C International [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content