Sahil Mirza (Rajkummar Rao) is a struggling writer who happens to meet Sweety Chaudhary (Sonam Kapoor) under ridiculous yet side-splitting circumstances and comes to realise that he is falling for her, unbeknownst to the fact that she is a closeted lesbian.
Positive Points: –
- The performances of almost everyone but mostly the supporting cast members particularly Anil Kapoor and Madhumati Kapoor.
- Ek Ladki… keeps itself simple and sweet, and resists unnecessary carnal sequences for which it can be seen with the entire family in spite of its serious subject matter.
Negative Points: –
- The film meanders around different plot points with some of its rib-tickling humour all to come up to its core matter and when it finally comes up to it, ends up falling flat.
- The poor character development and even deplorable character interactions.
- Clumsy direction, lacklustre screenplay and poor editing.
The General Aspects: –
Homosexuality is still a taboo in a largely conservative State like India even though regardless of its legal stature. Given that, there was a good chance that Shelly Chopra Dhar’s debut feature would have been objectionable to a lot of people. Thankfully, its simplicity and some proper sense of comedy and the absence of any sexual elements increase its appeal to a much wider range of audiences. Ek Ladki… challenges social stereotypes and retrograde ideas but seldom comes up as offensive. Its message is conveyed subtly and in sort of an endearing fashion. But that’s what one can like broadly about the film. Delving into its filmmaking aspects can bring out myriads of flaws in terms of direction, writing and even technicalities. Dhar’s direction and writing (co-written with Gazal Dhaliwal) are not adequate with respect to its serious theme. She crafts a film about the love of two homosexual girls but never really explores their romance and apprehensions efficaciously. Instead, we see more romance between Balbir Chaudhary and Chatro which I think was not even required in the movie. There are many other plot points which are either unnecessary or not utilised satisfactorily such as Sahil’s equation with his parents, his love for Sweety, dealing with the truth, Balbir’s cooking passion, and so on. The screenplay has quite many logical fallacies too but the pain of those fall short of its poor character development and the unamusing interactions that they have. We largely see linear characters and that includes its leads and their humane communion also leaves a lot to ask for. I would have loved to see more shades of Babloo, more screen presence and dynamicity in Kuhu, more pain in Sahil and a lot more affection amongst the characters. The lack of all these makes Ek Ladki… less effective on emotional grounds despite it trying to be mawkish, and that’s quite ironic to be honest, if not disheartening. Its music is above average and it does have a couple of good songs but they haven’t been used in the narrative effectively and hence they end up being as flaccid as the plot eventually becomes with time.
Poor characterisation, tepid interactions and under-usage of talent in Ek Ladki… couldn’t really hold back its cast from delivering stupendously. Interestingly, it’s lead Sonam Kapoor delivers quite a mediocre performance which can also be extended to her love interest played by Bollywood debutant Regina Cassandra. Cassandra is quite talented and her performances in South Indian flicks evince that, but here she has sort of a cameo which neither helps her nor the story. Rajkummar Rao is the only lead to make a mark though one has to admit that pulling off a character as simple as Sahil was a walk in the park for someone of his calibre.
The real MVPs in the film are its supporting actors. Anil Kapoor is brilliant as always for he gets to showcases many facets of his characters (probably the only properly explored one in the entire feature). His transition between various emotions is smooth and his sentimental rendition towards the end somewhat saves the film from sinking completely. Madhumati Kapoor as Beeji is again delectable and her lively comportment makes her presence a lot more likeable. Brijendra Kala and Seema Pahwa add some chucklesome moments to the narrative. Abhishek Duhan is pretty good as Babloo but I wished we could see more of him apart from his angry demeanour, something which stays consistent throughout the film. Juhi Chawla plays the same bubbly character she is known for and she still nails it (obviously).
Final Verdict: –
The trailer of Ek Ladki Ko Dekha To Aisa Laga was amazing and had hyped up the interests of many cinegoers which includes me as well. The final product has been quite underwhelming if not outright bad because the film could do a lot more in a lot many ways given its abundance of talented actors and a powerful and controversial topic. It’s good to see themes like homosexuality being brought to mainstream Indian cinema but that alone doesn’t make a film good. I wished I could like it as much as I hoped I would.