Ek Ladki ko Dekha toh Aisa Laga

Director-Shelly Chopra Dhar

Writer-Gazal dhaliwal, Shelly Chopra Dhar

Cast- Anil Kapoor, SonamK Ahuja, Rajkummar Rao, Juhi Chawla,eSema Pahwa, Brijendra Kala, Alka Kaushal, Abhishek Duhan

Unlike the cliched use of adjective “different “ which we often hear about every second film , here comes a love story which is actually different. It’s subtle, its sensitively told, it has humour, its entertaining, is not on-your-face and yet manages to put across the required message of “acceptance”.

The story opens with introduction to a loving close knit punjabi family of Moga wherein the father (Anil Kapoor) owns a garment business though he aspires to be a chef.They have a daughter(Sonam) who they want to get married and a son( Abhishek Duhan) who is an over protective brother.

Somewhere, there’s a budding playwright ( Raj Kumar Rao) who is trying to make it big in theatre though his father is a wealthy producer. He has his own struggles as he follows a path that’s rare and difficult. Associated with Rajkumar is Juhi who is a caterer by profession but craves to be an actress.

Rajkumar falls head over heels in love with Sonam in his first chance encounter. He has two challenges ahead. Firstly the family is not happy with him being a Muslim and then the most important fact that Sonam does not love him.

The story then goes on to tell how he wins over the girl, and then her family, and finally helps her unite her with her real self, helps her to come out and get acceptance for her real love.

The movie has been directed by debutante Shelly Chopra Dhar and co written by her and Gazal Dhaliwal. The duo have created a very pleasant premise for the message.

The initial build up seems slow but they ensure that you are engaged and entertained.

The families are close knit , the characters loving and happy. They ensure that heaviness does not creep in till the time they want it to,which does not happen till the climax.

The subtle humour in dialogues and situations is awesome. The fact that they had a wonderful set of actors is a big plus factor.

There are umpteen moments of chuckle and many lough out aloud moments as well.

Anil Kapoor is at his charming best. He’s like bright sunshine in each of his scenes. He’s fabulous.

Juhi too has her comic and loving charm perfect.

Rajkumar never falls short on whatever he plays albeit we fall short of words to praise him.

Abhishek Duhan as a brother is the surprise element. His performance deserves a special mention. As the possessive, watchful and disdainful brother, he was great.

Others like Seema Pahwa , Brijendra Kala are fine actors who always add value to the plot.

Sonam, as per me, was the only weak link .I believe the character and her turmoil was too complex for her ability as an actor. She tries her level best though.

The music was good and two of numbers are very peppy and groovy while others soft and melodious.

The screenplay was not as sharp as it could have been but the way the story gradually unfolds the main issue of sexuality, and the sensitively handled subject is appreciable. The climax scene which plays upon the father daughter relationship and wherein the family accepts her is well handled and gives moist eyed moments.

As it is , the bold subject is quite a leap for the mainstream. It was probably the makers’ choice to keep it subdued rather than rock the boat. It also touches upon the issue of unfulfilled aspirations that people live with, just to fit into societal or family expectations.

The story, gently nudges us all to open up to anything that might not fit in our definition of norms. Most important of all , it brings another taboo out of the closets. When you have a mainstream film attempting that feat, it needs to be given a chance .

As Juhi’s favourite dialogue in the film “ Ek chance toh banta hai” …For the message thats quite relevant and for the wonderful set of performances.

Score 7 on 10

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