Shaadisthan Cast: Kirti Kulhari, Nivedita Bhattacharya, Medha Shankar, Rajan Modi, Apurva Dogra, Ajay Jayanthi, Shenpenn Khymsar
The Family Man 2 Director: Raj Singh Chaudhary.
Where to Watch: Disney+ Hotstar
Right from 1956’s Chori Chori and its remake Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin (both were actually remakes of Hollywood’s 1935 classic, It Happened One Night) to Dil Chahta hai, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Karwaan, Qarib Qarib Singlle, Piku, Bombay to Goa, NH10 and Highway, Bollywood has intermittently come up with some excellent road-trip movies. The one thing common in all besides the beautiful camaraderie the characters develop in them is the self-discovery achieved albeit across through different paths and with diverse profound messages lying in wait. And now, out of nowhere, Kirti Kulhari’s Shaadisthan on Disney+ Hotstar, directed by Raj Singh Chaudhary of Gulaal fame, slots itself nicely among them with a road trip that beautifully breaks through patriarchal shackles.
So, are you excited about what to watch this weekend or what to watch this week and wondering whether Shaadisthan is worth your time? Scroll down for my full Shaadisthan review…
What’s it about
A touring rock group, led by vocalist Sasha (Kirti Kulhari), picks up an orthodox family of three, Sanjay (Rajan Modi), Kamla (Nivedita Bhattacharya) and their daughter, Arshi (Medha Shankar), en route to Ajmer, Rajasthan, on the request of a common friend who’s younger brother is supposed to get engaged to a barely 18-year-old Arshi, against her wishes.
Watch the Shaadisthan trailer below:
Shhadisthan gets its nuances just right be it the vibe of a travelling rock group, the judgmental eyes of a patriarchal society, the subtle symbolisms of gender divide within a family, or the community pressure and aspirations a patriarch expects himself to live up to even at the sacrifice of his own daughter’s happiness. Raj Singh Chaudhary makes a very confident feature-film debut both as Director and cowriter (with Kartik Chaudhary), and whenever there are slight missteps, the utterly fabulous Kirti Kulhari steps up to smoothen things out, well supported by Nivedita Bhattacharya, Rajan Modi and Medha Shankar, with the rest of the ensemble cast also pitching in well. Several of the dialogues also leave an effective guy punch without ever venturing into preachy territory. Aarti Bajaj’s cuts, too, are precise and keep things moving at a steady click.
The entire sequence involving Kay Kay Menon’s cameo (though he’s a blast) was totally unnecessary and is almost as useless as the opening shot of a couple stumbling out after frolicking with each other both are included to titillate and deviate in a movie that’s otherwise reliant on the meaningful. If the discourse between Sasha and Kamla was the end goal to Kay Kay’s cameo, it could’ve certainly be achieved by a flow that would’ve fit into the narrative. Even the climax and Sanjay’s (SPOILER ALERT) sudden change of heart feels too rushed and slightly dilutes the impact of Shaadisthan. Additionally, Nakul Sharma’s music and Sushil Rajpal’s camerawork needed to be on par with the quality of writing, direction and acting.
Despite a couple of superfluous sequences that could’ve been done away with and an unexpectedly rushed climax, Shaadisthan rises way above expectations on the back of a fierce, fiery and fabulous Kirti Kulhari and some excellent writing that subtly yet strongly mows down patriarchal shackles on a beautiful road trip. I’m going with 3.5 out of 5 stars.
3.5 out of 5