Cast: Kartik Aaryan, Kriti Sanon, Pankaj Tripathi
Director: Laxman Utekar
Director Laxman Utekar’s film frames its topic straight off the bat by showing us that ‘living in’ is still a practice that is much frowned upon in small-town India. Nadeem Khan, a star-cum-youth icon sets the cat among the pigeons when he inadvertently makes a comment that is perceived as promoting practices that go against the ‘Bhartiya Sanskriti’ and so on. Interestingly, live-in relationships have been featured previously in urbane flicks like Arth, Salaam Namaste and even one in a small-town- Shuddh Desi Romance but only intermittently.
Luka Chuppi too is a small-town story set in Mathura and Gwalior, its chief protagonists Guddu (Kartik Aaryan)-an intrepid reporter for a cable news channel and Rashmi (Kriti Sanon), an aspiring journalist, set off an unpredictable chain of events when they decide to opt for a live-in relationship. With enough to counter the Sanskriti Raksha Manch’s opposition to the live-in relationship, the stage is set for Rashmi and Guddu’s romantic shenanigans to begin. Aided by buddy-cum-cameraman Abbas (Aparshakti Khurrana), they set in motion a series of comical events that makes most of the movie.
In real life too, the topic has been subject of multiple all-India surveys by leading news publications but has still remained a socially ambiguous territory. But, Rohan Shankar’s screenplay barely scratches the surface of the issue and its multiple repercussions—hoodlums blackening faces of young romantics or roughing them up for political gains and of course, the Chinese whispers it sets loose. The different points of view on the subject are viewed (almost literally) through the lens of people’s opinions.
Watch: Luka Chuppi Movie Review
Keeping things firmly on the surface, the writer slips in a Guruji recounting parallels in mythology like the Radha-Krishna love story and an old dadi who rues the fact that she did not test her husband before marriage! However, given the audience propensity for all things light-hearted, one can see why Shankar would have opted for the comic route and for most part he pulls it off well. Where he fails though is to go beyond the obvious to heighten the comedic element in various scenes. A few key characters are underwritten –especially Babulal played by Pankaj Tripathi and therefore the punches don’t land quite as effectively. Fortunately, the story at hand allows for multiple comic situations—the nosy neighbour sniffing around at the whiff of a scandal or the young nephew capitalising on his knowledge of a grown up secret—being among them. The principal cast deserves a mention for enthusiastically stepping up and owning the characters. Aparshakti Khurana plays the hero’s friend with great conviction, Vinay Pathak, the father of the bride who stands firmly against live-in relationships for political gains is brilliant and even Pankaj Tripathi kitted in riotous colours to emphasise the buffoonery gets you smiling.
Moving on from being the Bareilly girl to one from Mathura, Kriti Sanon displays greater confidence as an actor and is certainly among the female actors to watch out for. But it is Kartik Aaryan, who, if the film performs well in theatres, will headline its success. After his successful stint in comedies like Pyaar Ka Punchnama and the recent Sonu Ke Titu… Aaryan is certainly creating his own identity among young actors with a yen for comedy and this one could go a long way in establishing his credentials.
Laxman Utekar, is a welcome addition to the list of directors looking to explore different stories –and with Luka Chuppi, it is quite evident that he is here to stay. Between the world of big metropolitan cities and the villages there is a wide swathe of small towns teeming with tales waiting to be told. This film is about one such story. Despite its flaws, Luka Chuppi holds the potential to spawn a genre around the live-in issue which in India has been quite the elephant in the room.
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