This is a really REALLY good script. Not the usual “obstacle, overcome, obstacle” sort of script, more a free floating series of events tied together by a central character conflict. And the character conflict is REAL. It’s not a “stupid people plot” reason, it’s a real life thing that is a real life problem. Until the end credits song which doesn’t even seem to fit with the depth of the rest of the film.
Whole plot in one paragraph:
Ranbir is the son of a business family in Delhi, a million different business going at once, and sometimes for a challenge he will also organize break-up scenarios to help people get out of relationships with no hurt feelings. He goes on a pre-wedding getaway with his best friend, the bride, and the bride’s best friend Shraddha and falls totally in love at first sight. They return home and meet the families and everything moves very fast, engagement and wedding planning all happening at once. Ranbir is obliviously happy, but Shraddha is overwhelmed by how his family is always around and so hires Ranbir (without knowing it is him) to help her get out of the engagement. Ranbir figures out it is Shraddha but keeps up the pretense because he wants to find out the real reason she wants out of the engagement. She finally tells him (as the breakup consultant) that it is the family, she can’t live with his family and her fiance can’t live without them. Ranbir accepts this and breaks up with her, taking all the blame. Months later they meet again and she figures out he was the breakup consultant and is furious that he didn’t just talk to her once he knew there was a problem and they finally have a real conversation. She grew up in a joint family and can’t go back to that life. He sincerely loves his family and would never want to leave them. They love each other, but there is a basic conflict in which one of them will always make a sacrifice. So they break up again, maturely and awarely. Ranbir goes home and his family confronts him and he finally admits the issue, to which his family says he should just do what Shraddha wants. Move out, have their own life, it doesn’t mean he loves his family any less. Ranbir rushes to the airport with the family, they all apologize to Shraddha, and she and Ranbir kiss.
Okay, that’s where I think the movie should have ended. Actually, I would have REALLY loved it if it ended with their sad real breakup scene. Because that’s the reality of life, sometimes love ISN’T enough. There is no magic fix. Ranbir loves living with his family and doesn’t want to leave them, Shraddha can’t do it. They should both find other partners who fit better with them. But if we have to get Ranbir and Shraddha together, get them together with a compromise. Shraddha will stay in Delhi instead of taking her overseas job, Ranbir will move out of the family home and give Shraddha her own place like she wants.
But instead, after the airport scene, we have a tacked on end credits song showing them all HAPPY LIVING IN A JOINT FAMILY!!!! The whole thing this movie was about, that there’s nothing wrong with it but it’s not for everyone, DESTROYED. No no, it is for everyone, joint families are the best, blah blah blah. I honestly think the film was supposed to end at the airport with the implication they would be moving into their own place nearby in Delhi, and at the last minute someone (let’s go ahead and blame Ranbir) said “no no, it will never sell, you have to add on a happy happy family song”.
Before moving on, I feel like I have to deal with the “breakup consultant” part. This is a classic Luv Ranjan plot, in that it superficially sounds misogynistic but actually is super feminist. We see Ranbir help a dude get out a relationship right at the start, and the whole goal is “I want to break up with her, but I don’t want to hurt her feelings”. Not in a cowardly “blah, women be crazy” way, but just because he wants her to feel good. So Ranbir makes the breakup work by building up this woman’s confidence so that she feels like her future is promising and she will be better off without this guy. That’s it, that’s his “trick”. We also see him reject a breakup job for a guy who has a kid with his partner, saying “be an adult, you are a father, just tell her how you feel”. And we see him accept jobs from women, this isn’t just about men wanting to be free, it’s anyone who feels stuck. Finally, we see him halfheartedly attempt and then fail to break up his best friend. 2 weeks before the wedding, the best friend wants to back out, Ranbir reassures him it is just cold feet, then lowkey tries to neg him to his fiancee and she doesn’t fall for it, and that’s the end of it. Yes, he will help people break up, but only from minorly committed relationships that have no future. Not marriages, engagements, real love. This even ties in to the overall theme of the movie, that Indian society doesn’t have a space for casual dating, for getting to know each other and figuring out if you have a future. You have to be in love right away forever and ever, and then you are trapped.
Except for the end credits song, which invalidates everything. But the rest of it is soooooooooooooooooooo good. It’s just structured like clockwork, beginning with this rushed vacation romance. They know each other 4 days, on vacation, and Ranbir is the one who pushes and pushes it to be an engagement. Once they come back to India, it is Ranbir’s mother who rushes over to Shraddha’s family at a wedding and starts talking marriage. And then all of a sudden it’s all happening. For all these reasons, Shraddha and Ranbir are rushed into an engagement without having a chance to sit and talk about the future.
Shraddha has no significant dialogue here, which I think is on purpose. On vacation, during those 4 days, she talks all the time. It’s all about what she wants, what she thinks, and so on and so forth. Once they are back in India and it’s all happening, suddenly she has no agency left. Ranbir’s family is coordinating everything, telling her what her life will be like, and she is just smiling in the corner. The first time she gets to speak for herself is at the interval when she calls the “break up consultant” and says “I can’t do this, I have to get out”.
The conflict of the film is Ranbir wanting Shraddha to just tell him what’s wrong, be honest with him. But we, the audience, can see how impossible that is. When does he listen? When does he let her speak? She told him what she wanted from the start, she wanted a fun casual vacation romance. He pushed it into this whole big thing. She says “I love my job, I like my career”, and suddenly his family is talking about her quitting and staying home all the time. She says “I live separately from my family”, no one asks “why?” they just push past it and start planning for her to move in.
It’s so REAL. In the end, when they have their REAL breakup convo Ranbir asks why she just couldn’t say these things, and she says “it’s different for you, you’re a guy”. And it’s true. Shraddha, once she’s in India in a family life, doesn’t have that freedom and confidence we saw in her on the 4 day holiday. She can’t say these things, she can’t get out, it’s not just hard but impossible. A woman in an Indian family isn’t asked what she wants, she is told.
Heck, even saying “I know you are a rich cool dude and you are professing your love and proposing, but I honestly am not ready for marriage” isn’t okay. She slept with him already, she’s single, she’s of marriagable age, how can she say “slow down”? There’s a reason Luv included the little touch that Ranbir’s Mom rushes over to her family and her family hadn’t even known about Ranbir yet. Shraddha didn’t tell them, she wasn’t ready, she wanted more time. But once it had happened, she either had to break up with Ranbir or go along with the engagement, “dating” was no longer an option for her.
What really makes the movie is that Ranbir’s family is truly wonderful! They all love Shraddha just as she is, no one wants her to be traditional or quit her job or have babies right away or not drink or any of that. All she would have to do is live in their home, that’s it, that’s the extent of it. And that alone is what Shraddha just doesn’t want to do. No matter how wonderful they are, she wants her own home. I love that. I love that it is okay to say “even the best joint family in the world, sometimes people just need their own space”.
And then of course we end with a “fa-la-la, joint families are awesome” montage. BLARGH!!!! It would have been so easy to end with a “compromise is possible” montage instead, show Ranbir and Shraddha in their own home with his family coming in and out, show that you can still love and be a part of family while keeping your own space, show that Shraddha was right when she decided for her own mental health she had to end this relationship because she couldn’t live in a family setting.
Again, a blame Ranbir. But the rest of the movie is great! You should watch it!
Oh, and small footnote, Dimple plays Ranbir’s Mom and is fan-freakin-tastic. And Boney Kapoor plays his Dad? Why? Is this, like, Boney’s retirement hobby? Playing small roles in random movies? Huh.
Please do review Maja Ma (Amazon Prime) and Qala (Netflix)! There’s so much to talk about in them!
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I haven’t seen the film, but I just love Dimple. She is great in everything I have seen. Amazing woman!
Thanks for presenting this perspective. COULDN’T AGREE MORE! I was combing through reviews, thirsty for some review which shared these exact thoughts that I had and apparently nobody else was getting it. I enjoyed the movie immensely but the climax just negated everything that the movie was trying to say earlier. Also, these kind of joint families dont exist in India, there wont be a single such family.. but the point us, even then, the most chill and open-minded humans will also have different opinions sometimes and usually its the girl who has been shaped by different experiences than the other “born in this family” people, so she will have different desires but hers will be sloshed over by the majority in the joint family because they are all living in this setup since the beginning and they have shaped it according to their liking. Any person who now comes from outside will have a minority opinion and hence will feel hesitant in voicing it. Own space, own house, own decisions on how to bring up your children, own religious faiths (or lack of it) are important. The girl rightfully desires these. She should get a chance to create her own family. She has married a guy, not the whole family . They can obviously live close by and keep visiting. Also, the scene where Ranbir says she comes 7th in chronological order but as such there is no ranking is cringe-worthy. Girls are expected to make husbands their priority (and Shraddha was expected to leave her family and live with Ranbir’s family. Why?? What if she was close to her family and wanted to live with them. Would Ranbir be open to moving in with her family?) so guys should also make wives their prioriry, since they are their life partners, unless they demand something unfair. Every family member does not have equal right of time and daily attention from the guy or the girl.. only spouses have that because they are life partners. Ofcourse, it goes without saying that both partners should care for each other’s parents and family, visit both families regularly, not get offended and ignore few things in both families and always be there for their parents.
YES! And the movie does such a good job of justifying that, everything Ranbir’s family does is out of love, but they just don’t see her perspective. They just met her, and they are already so involved in her life. Give some time to get to know this person, to figure out what they need from you and how they really feel, and then start sharing a life. With two people there is a give and take, both perspectives are equal. But how can Shraddha make herself known to this family where she is one out of several?
Even down to the detail where it is Dimple (current mother-in-law, former daughter-in-law) who immediately gets what Shraddha is saying and supports her desire, that is perfect. Of course Ranbir wouldn’t see a problem, of course he would think he could talk her out of it, and of course Dimple would be the one to understand. And then the end credits song just ruins all of it.
One more very important thing – couples will fight. That always happens in a marriage and is normal. In your own house, you can deal with it. In a joint family, others will get to know that you two are fighting. They will want to interfere and give their own gyan to both.. even if they do nothing, it will be embarassing for each partner to know that all family members know about every fight and every argument you ever have. You dont want to share it with the entire circus. These are private instances – no longer private
Which, again, was Shraddha’s whole problem. She never had a chance to tell Ranbir how she felt about his family, because they were never alone without his family during their engagement. How are they supposed to work out marriage problems if they couldn’t even work out engagement problems in private?
Even I didn’t understand the Boney Kapoor cameo.. he didnt even have many funny lines or anything. Dimple Kapadia shone.
You’re right, I really didn’t understand the ending because it seemed like Ranbir was just like “Yes, I get that you don’t want to live in a joint family but my family is different”. And then the ending makes it seem like nothing has really changed in the family’s behavior, except for the fact that Shraddha likes his family now.
Also I wish the whole subplot of the best friend having cold feet was properly concluded because that dude was still complaining to Ranbir about not being able to break up with his wife after she was pregnant.
Other than that ending, I really enjoyed the movie! It felt like it’s been a while since we saw a good big scale hindi rom-com with fun songs.
Agree about the best friend!!! I feel like we were supposed to understand that Ranbir knew his friend was really in love and just had cold feet, and then got in the habit of complaining. But we needed him to say “come on dude, you know you don’t mean it”.
Yeah, like actions and body language wise it seemed like the best friend and his wife loved each other but then the best friend continued to complain about her so it was just weird and confusing. Yup, Ranbir calling him out on it was what was missing.
The funniest part is , we are in 2023. Why the hell doesn’t anyone question the premise altogether. How it’s the girl going to the guy’s parents family . Why is that ? Is the girl not attached to her family ? Don’t they deserve the same logic that the guys parents do. It’s bullshit that gets perpetuated further with such fantasy worlds. Either both ends parents live together or don’t do it in the name of family values.