Friday, May 11, 2012

Movie 05/50 Vivah

Vivah  fiftyfiftyme category: Major

After a break, I got back into my fiftyfiftyme challenge with a movie I've had sitting around for a long time. I got Vivah for one reason, Amrita Rao. I think she is one of the few actresses who is truly pretty in the strict sense of that word, and enjoyed her part in Main Hoon Na. Having watched Vivah, I can best sum up my reaction to it with one word.


  1. WHY did I watch this?
  2. WHY didn't I listen to the warnings of my friends who said DON'T?
  3. WHY did this film get made?
  4. WHY did anyone think that a HAHK clone with 3 times as many songs was a good idea?
To be fair, this film has several redeeming features: First and foremost, it has two very pretty leads. They spend a lot of time doing what they do best - looking pretty. Second, it provides an object lesson in the perils of choosing a film for a reason as superficial as the prettiness of its leads. Third, it is one of the strongest arguments ever made in favour of giving the Nobel Prize to whoever invented the Fast Forward button on the remote. 

This film's "drama" is supplied by an incident involving fire. Having watched this through to the interminable end, I feel that I am now  entitled to be called Sita, having survived my own Agni Pariksha.

I am a sucker for sweet films and I really like the sweetest of them all, HAHK. That film was unabashed confection from start to finish and it got away with it. It was a one-off, though, and Vivah is powerful proof of that. It tries to be as sweet as HAHK but only manages to come off as cloying. It can't make up its mind whether it's regressively traditional (Krishnakanth's opening monologue) or drolly modern (its jibes at shuddh Hindi, which this learner enjoyed). 

It's also way too long, thanks to its makers apparently deciding that because HAHK had 14 songs, they would top that by having a song or song snippet after every 14 seconds of dialogue. The result is that the six months between the engagement and the vivah is lived in real time by any who sit through this film without hitting the FF button. 

I felt sorry for poor Seema Biswas - she deserved better than having such a shallow caricature of a character. It was obvious from her first appearance onscreen that she was the archetypal villain who would be redeemed by a transformative bout of soul searching, and so it proved to be. Happily, her "I'm so sorry it was all my fault, I love you, really" bit was mercifully short, and I'm sure the tears in her eyes were real as she reflected on the indignity of a real actress having to play such a role  to pay the bills. 

Vivah could have been a good film in the right hands. With less gag-inducing dialogue, fewer songs and thirty minutes knocked off its runtime, it could have been an enjoyable escapist romance. If you're the sort of person who can polish off a plate of laddoos, wash them down with a mango lassi and chase that with fresh jalebis and masala chai, then you will probably enjoy this film. If, like me, you enjoy sweet, gooey confections that stop just short of inducing diabetes, avoid, yaar!


  1. I think I must be the only person in the universe who enjoyed this film. But then I am a huge Shahid fan and have the ability to shut out everything else that's happening apart from him, so perhaps that's why. Although I liked Amrita Rao here too. Everyone else, not so much!
    I agree it's not a great story and the end is dire, but there are lots of pretty moments along the way. I have actually watched it more than once, (although mainly for the songs) and I have to say that sadly, it's not the worst film Shahid has made! :)

    1. You're by no means the only one who enjoyed it, and even I wanted to It just seems that whether they speak shuddh Hindi, Urdu, or English, filmi people have no grasp of the word "edit"

  2. I enjoyed the film because of the same reason Heather mentioned - Shahid. And Amrita, though she wasn't particularly good in this one.
    Of course it was extremely sugary and traditional, so it's not one of my favourites... but I found it okay for a one-time watch. Actually I liked it better than HAHK, hated that one (sorry ;)).

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Mette, and NEVER feel like you ought to apologise for your personal tastes in film. Especially when you see so many more of them and write about them so much better than I :)