Vikas Bahl's last directorial venture Queen starring Kangana Ranaut was an absolute delight in every sense, however, the same cannot be said about his latest outing Shaandaar which stars Shahid Kapoor, Ali Bhatt and Pankaj Kapur in the lead. While the film has been directed by Vikas, it is more of a Karan Johar venture because everything is extravagant, larger-than-life and glittery. But all these elements do not always guarantee success, because at the end of the day, a good storyline is what works not just at the box office but also with the audience. And, sadly that's exactly where Shaandaar lags behind.
Shaandaar is about two crazy families coming together for a destination wedding but in reality, this shaadi is nothing but a business deal. Bipin's (Pankaj Kapur) daughter Isha (Sanah Kapoor) is all set to marry the son of Sindhi business tycoon Fadwani (Sanjay Kapoor). Since Bipin is bankrupt, he decides to get Isha married into the Fadwani family. But here is the catch—even the Fadwanis have gone bankrupt. While both families hope the marriage will bail them out of their troubles, few more twists and turns unravel as the film progresses. Amidst the grand wedding in the countryside of England, love blossoms between Isha's sister Alia (Alia Bhatt) and the wedding planner Jagjinder Joginder (Shahid Kapoor). Both Alia and Jagjinder are insomniacs and because of that very reason, they end up getting to know each other quite well. It is love at first sight for Jagjinder. Alia, however, takes time to fall in love with him. But when she does, her father isn't too happy. What happens thereafter forms the rest of the story and trust me, it is nothing extraordinary.
Story wise, there is nothing to boast about Shaandaar. It is like any other romantic comedy with typical cliches. The only difference between Shaandaar and other Bollywood rom-coms is that the latter has been shot beautifully in the countryside of England. Also, the narration by Naseeruddin Shah at the beginning is worth mentioning. It is about Alia's back story and it has been done very nicely. Visually, Shaandaar is indeed a treat to the eyes but there is nothing more to it and that is disappointing especially when you know it is a Vikas Bahl film.
Pankaj Kapur and Alia Bhatt stand out the most with their performances. The father-daughter relationship has been captured beautifully. Pankaj Kapur as always has done justice to his character but an actor of his calibre has hardly anything to showcase in a film like Shaandaar which is all about glitz and glamour. Alia looks super cute and her chemistry with Sasha is quite sizzling. In fact, that is one of the reasons why Shaandaar is watchable till the end. Coming to Shahid, well, the B-town hunk looks hot as hell in this film and while he will manages to tickle the funny bone a few times; there were scenes when SK went overboard. Apart from these seasoned actors, Sanah Kapoor also deserves a mention for her act. She is sort of the surprise package in the film. Sanjay Kapoor as the gold-obsessed Sindhi tycoon is actually funny but he does not have much screen time.
Overall, Shaandaar is just about okay. While Alia and Shahid look good together and share amazing on screen chemistry, it does not make their film any Shaandaar. And though the climax of the film has Vikas written all over it, had the Queen director stayed true to his filmmaking style throughout, maybe, Shaandaar would have been something else. Something more meaningful!
Nonetheless, if you love films which have a fairytale feel, Shaandaar will not let you down. However, if you are planning to walk into the theatre keeping in mind it is a Vikas Bahl film, then it would be better if you go in without any expectations.
Lastly, if your sole reason to go and watch Shaandaar is Alia and Shahid, then don’t think twice. Rush to the nearest cinema hall because Sasha will make you drool and so will Ms Bhatt, especially with her bikini sequence.
Director: Vikas Bahl
Star cast: Pankaj Kapur, Alia Bhatt, Shahid Kapoor, Sanah Kapoor and Sanjay Kapoor