This movie is….fine. It’s not great and perfect, but I will happily rewatch the best bits over and over again, and the worst bits aren’t torture. If you like rom-coms and you want to see it, read the no spoiler review instead. If you don’t like rom-coms but are still curious about it, you can read this.
Okay, deep breath, let me see if I can do this. Pari and Sid are childhood sweethearts, but then she leaves town when they are still kids. Years later, Sid is a gunda for his father specializing in kidnapping boys and forcing them into marriages. Pari is a tough wild girl with a gang of male friends. They meet at a wedding and immediately recognize each other and fall back into love, although Sid tries to resist. They have sex, are happy, but then she says something jokingly about them getting married someday and Sid gets spooked because he doesn’t think he is good enough for her for marriage. Her father gets spooked too and wants her to marry a “good” boy. He ends up hiring Sid to kidnap her groom. Pari sees Sid at the house and thinks he is the groom and is excited to be married. Sid decides the best thing he can do is confirm this is a good boy and then kidnap him for Pari. But at the last minute, Sid’s Dad is offered a better deal from someone else for the same boy and tells Sid to go and return the money to Pari’s house. Pari is furious to learn that Sid took money to get her married to someone else, and extra furious that he backed out and humiliated her father. She convinces her friends to drug and kidnap Sid and makes him drunkenly go through with a mock marriage to her. Sid’s father is furious when he finds out and orders Sid to take care of this disrespectful woman. Sid goes to Pari’s house and she leaves with him willingly. INTERVAL
In the second half, Pari is nervous but confident that Sid loves her and will not hurt her. He takes her to the honeymoon getaway where he brings all his forced couples and locks her in a room, she still isn’t scared. And then he goes off and kidnaps the groom her father picked out for her. He explains to his friend that because his father is an abusive partner, he doesn’t trust himself to be a good husband. So the best thing he can do for Pari is get her married to someone better. Only as they are preparing for the wedding Sid starts talking to the groom and realizes he is lusty and horrible and looks at Pari and just sees sex. Sid beats him up and drags him out. He and Pari finally have an honest conversation, he admits he can’t escape his father’s shadow, she decides she should listen to her father who has always been loving. Sid then goes home and talks to his mother Sheebha Chadha who gives him the opposite advice, that he should trust his heart and himself and not fear his father. Sid turns over a new leaf and plans to finally propose to Pari. Only, she gives him a wedding card instead, she is marrying her best friend. Sid goes home and agrees to a political wedding for his father but asks it to be the same day as Pari’s wedding. At the last minute, he decides to run from his wedding and go to stop Pari’s. He gives a speech about how forced marriages are always wrong, and then his father shows up to drag him back to his wedding along with goons from the bride’s family. They beat him up, until his father finally orders his men to save Sid. Pari also hits a guy with a stick to save Sid. Wedding, HAPPY ENDING.
See, the issue is, there is just too much for Pari and Sid to keep in their minds all the time while they are acting. It starts out simple. They were in love as kids, they grow up and meet again and are just as much in love. Sid can’t resist her and Pari is fearlessly ready to leap in. All good so far, Sid was raised in a complicated violent household and Pari was raised in a secure loving home, makes sense that they grew up different but still love each other.
And then we get complication number 1, when Pari leaps to assuming they will be married and Sid gets scared and backs off. It’s a sudden twist since right before Sid was so in thrall to her that he was having sex with her and skipping out on his duties. But the characters make it work, we can believe Sid is tormented but thinks he is doing the right thing, and we can believe that Pari is so quick to be sure of herself and their relationship because she is determined with her view of the world.
And then complication number 2, which only works because Pari’s father’s hearing aid isn’t working which makes it look like he is having a long conversation with Sid, thus Pari thinking Sid is the groom and Sid not learning the full details of the wedding and thinking Pari wants it. This is really a great situation, the guy who actually loves the girl thinking she has decided to move on and marry someone better, and putting it on himself to find that better person. And the girl happily planning her wedding to the man she loves only to have her heart broken when she learns he took money to arrange her wedding to someone else. Problem is, this situation is kind of hard to play on top of already playing the “childhood sweethearts reunited” plot and the “she wants to marry him and he is afraid of commitment” plot. I mean, they connect, the script is logically connected and all that, but it’s hard for the actors to juggle all those emotions at once,
Which brings us to complication number 3! Pari deciding to kidnap Sid and force him into a marriage in revenge for trying to marry her off to someone else. Okay, so Pari is angry because he betrayed their love but also still sure of their love that she wants the marriage to happen. And Sid is guilt-ridden because he was forced to call of her wedding to a better man, and also tormented because he still loves her. This is a lot of layers! Especially to put into a comic sequence like the drugged wedding.
The thing is, each of these individual sections work really well. Their cute falling back in love bit is delightful, kissing in the movies, and riding motorcycles and having golden sundappled sex. And the section of Sid sending his gundas around to research the groom and make sure he is good enough for Pari is really sweet. And the kidnapping is legitimately funny, with all of Pari’s friends trying and failing to capture him. It’s just if I try to put them into a cohesive whole and a journey of the characters, it makes no sense.
I think my favorite section of the film is the post-kidnapping section. Sid and Pari both honestly talk about where they are coming from, Sid getting furious at her potential groom when he reveals that he just sees her as a sex object, it’s funny and romantic and entertaining all at once. But I’d be able to enjoy it more if I wasn’t trying to tie it all up into an emotional chronology that starts with an innocent childhood love story and somehow ends with the guy kidnapping the girl so he can arrange her marriage to someone else, while the girl is furious with him because he is denying his feelings for her but also trusts him and is sure that he will never hurt her. It’s a lot!
But then, every part of the plot is so juicy and nice, and don’t really want to cut any of it. If we start with Sid refusing to go through with arranging the forced wedding which makes Pari drug him and force him to marry her, that could be a cute meet cute. But then we lose Pari’s wonderful confidence that Sid will never hurt her thanks to their love story, and Sid’s juicy torment. Or if we go straight from them dating to Sid kidnapping her to force a wedding to someone else? But then we miss Pari’s delightful anger at him for the betrayal she presumes.
And after all of that, we are back to a reset to where we theoretically could have been two hours earlier! Sid still doesn’t want to marry Pari because he is afraid of turning into his father. Pari’s father wants her to marry someone respectable. It ends with Sid finally having a heart to heart with his mother and having her encourage him to be fearless and have faith in his own heart. If he’d had that conversation two hours earlier, this whole plot wouldn’t have happened. And really, all the emotional tormoil and stuff and the layers of the characters, just washed away.
Obviously we end with a big fight at a wedding, the way all the best movies end. I am a little irritated that Sid’s father gets redeemed after his whole character was built as being afraid of turning into the horrible person his father was. And we get the final message that all forced marriages are wrong, whether it is a couple being forced to marry by their families or social pressure, or a groom being brought to the wedding at gunpoint. Nice message and all that, but such a confusing way of getting there!