Okay, maybe I was just in the right mood, or maybe it’s because romantic comedies come along so rarely these days, but I was really really impressed with this one! Old-fashioned idea, new fashioned execution, real characters with real conflicts, and a happy ending! And a central couple that was kind of cute and sparky. If only there were some really big budget song numbers, it would be the perfect movie. Seriously, if you like light rom-coms and have been waiting for a new one to come out that feels like Happy Bhaag Jayegi or Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania, go right over and watch this!
Just SO GOOD!!!! You know how usually you are watching a rom-com thinking “why don’t these people just talk to each other? Why are they being so cowardly and stupid? Why is this plot so predictable?” Yeah, NONE of that happens here! Instead there is a lot of fistpumping moments of “Ha! I can’t believe they just did that! My heart grew three sizes watching it!”
Plus, for once, the most important relationship in the film, the two people who are constantly talking and working together and interacting, are the central couple! Not the hero and his best friend who are stalking the girl, or the girl and her sister who are trying to plan her elopement or any of those other relationships that for some reason writers prefer to write instead of the relationship that the film is actually supposed to be about. Amit Sadh and Taapsee Pannu are the beginning middle and end of the film.
And that kind of leads into the whole point of the film in a meta-way. It’s not just the central couple that really really knows each other and likes spending time together and builds their own relationship just between the two of them, it’s every single couple and person we see. The title comes from the website/business that Amit and his best friend Arsh Bajwa set up a website called “Running Shaadi” and invite couples to apply for their help in organizing run away marriages. The trailer kind of set this up as a humorous joke machine type thing. But as it is presented in the film, it is almost an instruction manual for love marriages! They go into detail about the Indian laws surrounding them, the process of getting a registered marriage, how to easily get away from parental supervision, and all the other parts of marrying for love. This isn’t just a movie that treats love marriages as a funny plot point, it treats them as the wave of the future, the way everyone should be married, a basic human right.
Over and over again through out the course of the film (as I will be discussing in my SPOILERS review) the idea of people doing what they want to do with their own bodies and their own futures because that is a basic human right is repeated. With a balance, there are certain things our hero and heroine and all the other characters just will not do because it would hurt others. And the harder things they do, the big decisions, are taken with a proper weight and consideration. These are young people trying to find their way in the world, and it is hard, but they are doing their best.
While all of that feels new, almost revolutionary, the basic structure of the narrative is all old school and familiar. Our hero is an orphan, our heroine is the rich daughter of the family that takes him in. Obviously, there are run away marriages and elopements and all that in the plot, also a very traditional part of Indian films. And our central love story is of the “forever and ever since childhood you were the only one” variety. Not of the stupid “ha-ha, kids these days have sex and flirt with no attachment!” kind of way. It’s a perfect combination of all the unique wonderful parts of traditional Hindi film with a modern anything goes kind of attitude.
I guess here is the biggest compliment I can give this film: the censor board HAAAAAATED IT! It has the ODDEST bleeps. For one thing, “dot com” is removed from the soundtrack every time it appears. WHY????? And there are so many other completely random words that are pulled here and there for truly no reason! I’m guessing because they couldn’t justify censoring out the stuff they really really hated (all those moments when a woman had a right to make her own decisions about her life/body/future), so they took out their anger by chopping up the dialogue in what ever way struck their fancy.
Really, if you want a rom-com with big wedding scenes and strong female characters and a couple you are really pulling for to get their happy ending, go out and watch it right now!