×

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

  • Durban Film Festival 2019 / Copyright

    South African Creatives Grapple Over Copyright Amendment Bill

    DURBAN–The South African government is planning to update its four-decade-old copyright legislation, but what that means for filmmakers was up for debate during a contentious and often heated session at the Durban FilmMart this week. While the Copyright Amendment Bill awaits the signature of President Cyril Ramaphosa, industry stakeholders remain divided over how the proposed [...]

  • 'The Lion King' Ruling Box Office

    'The Lion King' Ruling Box Office With Dazzling Debut at $180 Million

    Disney’s “The Lion King” has jolted the North American box office back to life with an opening weekend in the $180 million range, estimates showed Saturday. “The Lion King” will record the second-best opening of 2019 — and could replace “Incredibles 2,” which launched last year with $182.7 million, as the ninth biggest North American [...]

  • 'Tomb Raider' Star Simon Yam in

    'Tomb Raider' Star Simon Yam in Hospital After Stabbing

    Hugely popular Hong Kong actor, Simon Yam was stabbed while on stage Saturday at a presentation in Zhongshan, Guangdong province in southern China. He is in hospital recovering. The incident happened at the opening of a branch of the Beijing Easyhome building materials company, where Yam was a guest. A man was seen rushing on [...]

  • Brazilian President Jair Bolosnaro attends the

    Bolsonaro Threatens Brazil’s Central Film Fund with Censorship or Closure

    In typical shoot-from-the-hip remarks, Brazil’s far-right president Jair Bolsonaro has declared that Ancine, Brazil’s powerful state-backed federal film agency, should accept “filters”or face closure. “If it can’t have a filter, we’ll close Ancine, or privatize it,” Bolsonaro added, attacking Ancine, which plows some $300 million a year into Brazil’s film and TV industries, for supporting [...]

  • TSOM-MASK

    Director Sara Gouveia on ‘Looking At Resilience Through Art’

    DURBAN–The Mapiko dance of Mozambique’s indigenous Makonde people was long used as a tool for social commentary. But during the colonial era it became an act of political resistance, prompting the Portuguese to stamp it out during Mozambique’s 10-year war for independence. Decades later, the art has been revived as a celebration of freedom. For [...]

  • Don Edkins

    Documentary Filmmaker Don Edkins on ‘Creating an African Voice’ 

    DURBAN–For the 10th Durban FilmMart (DFM), the industry program of the Durban Intl. Film Festival, a new strand was created to look at the unique challenges and opportunities facing documentary filmmakers in Africa. The two-day program, Durban Does Docs, offers a series of conversations, seminars and workshops with an intensive focus on the aesthetics, funding, distribution [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content