What a delightful film Shaadisthan turns out to be, a breath of fresh air on the road from Mumbai to Ajmer! It doesn’t resort to cliches or sport a motley crowd of actors nor tries too hard about women empowerment. It’s a breeze!
Shaadisthan doesn’t preach (mostly), is unpretentious and relatable, and all the actors perform true to their parts. The story is about a collusion of two cultures, two divergent value systems; one a product of centuries of conditioning, the other a rebel that breaks free to live life on her terms. One that is dependable, responsible in a twisted way, stolid and limiting; the other free-flowing, light, individualistic and responsible.
There is such a warm tonality to the whole treatment that one doesn’t feel there’s tangible, quite palpable, dialectics at work: between the silent and strong wife and voluble and volatile singer. The two ‘surs’ flow in tandem, their contradictions converging to create a life-changing jugalbandi, a symphony of the conditioned and the free radical. The narrative may appear to lack depth but it’s not so. The text maybe linear but subtext quite nuanced.
Kirti Kulhari expectedly delivers a robust act though her character is a tad condescending at times, but for me it is the demure, submissive and secure Nivedita Bhattacharya (what a gifted actor, we need to see more of her) that steals the show with a performance that is understated and embodies integrity. One marvels at the way she defines and elevates her role. Sublime is the word that comes to mind.
Raj Singh Chaudhary, writer of No Smoking and Gulaal, for a debutant director, there isn’t a false note in your rendition, just pitch-perfect, authentic and controlled, a work of great promise. Take a bow!
Where to Watch: Hotstar