Running Shaadi: Love in the time of cultural collisions



There is a timeless arc to the film-journeying to discover true love-but it’s the little things that happen within the larger voyage that work for it.

The Punjabi-Bengali combination works at yet another level for Running Shaadi — in writer-director duo of Navjot Gulati and Amit Roy. Together they craft a film that travels all the way from Amritsar to Patna to present a unique spread of some delectable characters from both the states. Each of them leaves an impression, those on the margins more, perhaps, than even the ones in the lead. Not just Brijendra Kala who is ever reliable and a perennial riot but it’s the unknown faces that you sit up and notice. Like the heroine Nimi’s (Tapsee Pannu) bridal-wear shop owner father in Amritsar who can’t reconcile with her “rumaal jaisi skirt (kerchief-sized skirt)”, or the prospective bride’s dad in Patna asking her to be brought in if her “leepa-poti” (make-up) is done.

In continuation with Vicky Donor and Piku here’s another film from the Sircar stable (he is the producer) which plays wonderfully with cultural collisions, as well as the co-existence of disparate worlds that is so typical of India. But the caricatures and clichés of communities are observed with a warmth and understanding than putting them up for ridicule. Some of them get nicely overturned as well. So you have a geek sardarji for a change, in the Steve Jobs-Mark Zuckerberg worshipping character, Cyber (Arsh Bajwa).

It’s lovely how oddities are a given. Everyone is quirky. Period. Idiosyncrasy is normal. The conversations (right down to the grammatically incorrect English of some) and the humour remain earthy, organic and rooted than attention-seeking. The many twists and turns get negotiated gently. Love blossoms, at the very start, under the most unusual circumstance. Somewhere in the middle of the film, love does threaten to go all filmi and sentimental but the girl dances in the boy’s baaraat and the (dis)order is restored. It is heartening how easily the gender equations and role reversals get redefined without making a big deal of it. The “caring” hero washes clothes and the heroine’s hair; the “irreverent” girl drives the scooter while he rides pillion. He is her confidant before a lover. And they live happily ever after, perhaps. Running Shaadi is a quaint film that keeps you smiling in a mellow way.