I was very very nervous about how this movie would work, but it totally worked! I was afraid it was going to be a big Aditya Chopra movie taking the industry in another new direction where I didn’t want it to go. But turns out, it’s just a little Aditya Chopra movie, a nice harmless little thing that just happens to be made really really well.
Back when I was in high school, I taught myself to make crepes. People get all impressed when you say “crepe”, because it’s French and stuff. But actually it is a super simple recipe, just milk and eggs and a touch of flour. The key is having the right equipment (I asked for a crepe pan for my birthday) and lots and lots of practice to get it to flip right (I had very few friends).
That’s what this film is. It’s a super simple plot with basic little elements. There’s no big social statement to be made, no big dramatic scenes, no deep character conflict, none of that. It’s the film equivalent of throwing together flour and eggs and milk. But, again, the key is the equipment and the practice.
This film has the classic Yash Raj gloss over it all, including a location shoot at the Eiffel Tower and some fancy special effects in some of the songs. It’s the same film as, say, Love Breakups Zindagi or Happy Bhaag Jayegi, just a light romance. But with an international film budget.
(Also, Neal ‘n Nikki. Which I have a little soft spot for)
Beyond the equipment, though, there is the ability. The little things, like the timing of a glance back, or the editing together different time lines, or a fight scene that goes back and forth between funny and scary and serious all at the same time. That’s something that only comes from years and years of experience and innate talent.
I should say, while the ingredients are the equivalent of the basic flour and egg and milk, they are the highest quality. Ranveer is expectedly good, nailing the wild young man of the same type as Ram-Leela or Band Baaja Baarat. Vaani is unexpectedly good! As is her character.
I was very aware that this is the film that Adi is making for his daughter’s first birthday. So I was ready for life lessons and deep philosophy and all that. But he surprised me, and instead he just put in a fun little story and a really strong female lead. Vaani Kapoor has character, not that she IS a character, she has character. She is strong and confident and is a personage. She takes the lead, and Ranveer follows. Which is a nice enough lesson for your daughter, I suppose, that a woman can be confident and free and happy, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
It’s a very particular role, and I can see why Vaani was picked for it. She has such strong looks, for one thing. Her face is striking, not pretty, and it works for a woman who is supposed to be unusual for her personality, not her looks. She is also a tall woman, which I didn’t notice in the trailers so much, but watching the film as a whole, there is a lot of her and Ranveer throwing each other around and it works great having them be of similar physique.
But Vaani also does a great job with the character stuff. She has to convey a lot through the occasional glance or unusual line reading, and she does great! I couldn’t find a wrong note.
But mostly it’s all about Adi’s ability to take this standard ingredients and make something special out of them. Something special, but not ambitious. He’s not trying to take a crepe and turn it into, I don’t know, some kind of crazy crepe-hamburger-donut something. He’s just make something very simple, but doing it really really well.