All the excitement of Shashifest distracted me. Sorry! Anyway, here it is.
This is a different kind of wedding couple. While the first episode showed the “industrialists”, the highest of the higher classes, the richest or the rich, the same kind of family that Sobhita married in to, this episode is showing the new money. The ones who are still tied to their traditions instead of being brushed down and turned into perfect westernized wealth. These are true Punjabi Sikhs, trying to catch a foothold in the higher level of society. They have the money for a big wedding, but they still wear their turbans, and they go to Gurudwara, and they can be impressed by celebrity guests. The grooms’ family owns a hotel and the bride is from Dubai, daughter of a businessman, the wedding is bringing together two families and two businesses. But they are old-fashioned, the bride and groom didn’t date or pick each other, or even know each other well before this. Although they are new-fashioned enough that the bride and groom do know each other a little and like each other. And get to have a “young people party” before the real party. That’s what it’s all about really, the young people in this family, they can drink and wear western clothes and party, but the older generation can’t. The family is torn between past and future.
We open the episode with a bang, Zoya had to shift the editing around a bit to make this the opening, but it is worth it. A young woman wakes up, her phone is ringing, she confesses to her friend that she isn’t in her room, she spent the night with “Big Name Movie Star”. And then her friend comes and they both sigh over him still sleeping in bed and take photos. It’s cute and non-judgemental. And immediately pulls you into this episode when it is followed by a flashback revealing the woman who just spent the night with a movie star is THE BRIDE!!!!
The rest of the episode is a surprisingly sweet story. Sobhita and Arjun and their team work to get the couple back together. A photo leaked of the star kissing the bride, and the groom is furious. The bride isn’t even sure she wants him back, is beginning to feel conflicted about this whole thing, but Sobhita and team convince her to make a show of praying and then cooking for him, and feeding him the food, and that will make him forgive her. The bride’s friend thinks this is all ridiculous, and the voice over is cynical about it too, that all a bride has to do is pray and cook. But, it works! Not only does the groom forgive her, he forgives her so sweetly that the bride falls in love with him for real. She wants to confess to him the next day but Arjun convinces her not to, convinces her that lying is better to protect the happiness of their marriage.
It’s an interesting message. This marriage with the old-fashioned start (arranged between families) and old-fashioned values (praying and cooking and so on) turns out to be more sincerely loving and sweet than the wedding from the first episode with the modern couple who fell in love, but get married partly because Sobhita convinced the bride to care about money. And the young woman who slept with a movie star the night before her wedding, and didn’t even know how to cook, turns out to be truly the perfect innocent bride, their wedding ceremony is without any dark clouds, she truly loves her husband and looks at him with love, unlike the first ceremony where the bride was also concerned about what everyone else thought of her. Really, the message is simply that people and couples don’t follow any set pattern. A young woman can be overcome and spend the night with a movie star and still fall in love with her fiance that she hasn’t even kissed, can be won over to a marriage of cooking and praying.
That’s the central story, but this episode also gives a little more information about the continuing storylines. Poor Shivani has a crush on Arjun, and doesn’t notice that the videographer has a crush on her. She is out of her depth in many ways, not sure on what to wear to the events, excited about the fancy hotel room where she gets to stay, and accidentally posting photos on social media and getting in trouble. But on the other hand, she has an instinct for people like Sobhita does, suggests the praying and cooking solution to the romance problem. And she has a tie to the kind of youthful sincere love, and old-fashioned values, that are part of this wedding. While the other staff are part of the westernized upper middle-class, she is part of a family that still prays at Gurudwara and understands those values. This is also the episode where we get to see her household, the true average household we have not seen so far, a little apartment with her mother and father and deadbeat brother, in which she has one little corner that she struggles to keep pretty and tidy.
Sobhita’s story continues to slowly move along and so does Arjun’s. Definitely lots of filler in their stories. Which is fine, they need to pace things out a little so we can care about the episode by episode stories instead of just the personal DRAMA all the time. We get a flashback to Sobhita’s wedding and how Kalki supported her and bucked her up. We see Sobhita pressure her husband Jim to have sex with her because she is ovulating and him avoiding. And we see Sobhita at the celebration for the new factory Arjun has opened, where she is surprised by her mother and sister. She speaks to them differently, rapid Hindi instead of the smooth Hinglish style she uses with her in-laws. And she is embarrassed by them. It ends with Jim and Kalki hiding in the factory and making out. It’s just more of the same from the first episode. Sobhita married up and is trying to make a success of her marriage as hard as she can, she is trying harder than it seems on the surface and is more worried than she seems. And Kalki and Jim’s affair is more of a betrayal than it seems, as we learn that Kalki was Sobhita’s loyal friend first, and that Sobhita believes her marriage is sincere and solid enough to support a child.
Arjun keeps flashing back to his first love, but has another man staying with him, an American who is a regular visitor when in India for business. His landlord is suspicious and installs cameras in his apartment. And he is friendly and kind to his landlord’s teenage daughter (possibly foreshadowing that her friendship will either save him, or doom him when his secret comes out). It’s still less interesting than Sobhita’s story, although his landlord’s family is a whole collection of wonderful actors, Vinay Pathak from Aaja Nachle as the father, Ayesha Raza from Veere Di Wedding and Dil Dhadakne Do as the mother, and Yashaswini Dayama from Dear Zindagi as the daughter.