Can good friends be lifetime partners too? Number of films have tried exploring this theme, the last prominent one being Jaane Tu Ya Naa Jaane Na. Hence, when the promo of Wedding Pullav came, the storyline was pretty much clear in those two minutes itself. Boy and girl are friends, they are getting married to someone else, and now they are in a dilemma if they should go ahead with their new partners or find love in each other.
In that aspect, first time director Binod Pradhan was on a sticky wicket in the very first chapter of the script. Should he be going for a conventional route? Or should he be attempting something off the beaten path? He actually goes with the first approach, though one would have definitely liked the acclaimed cinematographer to try a different route in his first outing as a filmmaker. Given the resources in hand, a new pair (Anushka Ranjan, Diganth) which is not bound by an image and some good locations (Thailand), there was an opportunity in hand to try something new.
However, what one gets to see is a film which has the set up of Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai, the characters from Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na and the narrative that reminds one of Dil Dhadakne Do (families coming together for celebrations). In the middle of this all, there are a few Yash Chopra, Karan Johar and Sooraj Barjatya moments thrown in, what with ankaksharis, pyaar-dostis and mama-mamis thrown in.
Few of them work too. For starters, each of the actors comes across as characters; well, at least in the first half. Anushka plays her part well as a spirited girl, Diganth settled in well as someone looking at balancing his personal and professional life, Sonnalli Seygall as his would-be wife looks glamorous and acts sweet while Karan Grover (as the boy Anushka is in love with) is sorted and understanding. Between them, there are certain scenes thrown in that make Wedding Pullav a decent watch.
However, once the stage is set (within first 40 minutes itself), the film begins to drag towards the interval point. If a sad song takes one to a rather dull interval point, there is a flurry of songs – most of them being sad – right through the second half. Around five-six of them arrive, either in the original or their slower version, that makes a 30-40 minute narrative into one hour long. With not just the lead actors but their friends, parents, relatives and even the Resort Manager (Rishi Kapoor – keeping a straight face in an inconsequential part) realizing that they are in love, the proceedings keep getting stretched.
Thankfully though, Binod Pradhan lits up the frames brilliantly which makes this film quite pleasant on the big screen. The songs – happy ones mainly – look quite good which help the narrative to some extent. Also, each of the veteran actors plays his or her part well, be it Satish Kaushik (quite good), Parmeet Sethi (natural), Upasana Singh (funny), Himani Shivpuri (as usual) or the lady who plays the granny. The three actors playing friends fit in well too.
As for the leading actors, Anushka – who looks like a cross between Bipasha Basu andDeepika Padukone – is confident in front of the camera, is natural to the core and dances well too. Diganth is fine to begin with but his characterization is such in the second half that it makes one wonder why he is not taking a stand. Especially in the climax, his character graph makes him act in a manner which is not befitting at all to that of a hero. He dances quite well though. Karan underplays his part well, even though it is predictable. On the other hand Sonalli, who carried grey shades in her debut flick Pyaar Ka Punchnama, is a revelation in a sweet and glamorous avtar. She acts well and her dialogue delivery is cute too.
Now if only the film was shorter by at least 20 minutes with a crisper second half, less number of sad songs and a better written climax, this Pullav could have been more delicious.