wogma rating: Watch if you have nothing better to do (?)
I’d have called myself a whiny, cynical old woman if I found only the depiction of romance problematic. Glamourising creepy men who do "anything" to be loved by someone they love is worrisome. It's difficult to look beyond at other potentially redeeming factors.
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It is easy to dismiss films like Shiddat, which portray love as a duality—foolish and practical. They tend to make the foolish so silly that only the most impractical people in the audience will empathise with them. The rest are likely to think the stupidity got what it deserved. On the other hand, the practical characters are such realists that we can expect only heartlessness from them. Also, these films are easy to dismiss because they are not making any effort to depict reality. All of this could be excused if Shiddat didn’t try to pass of creepiness as ‘shiddat’—wanting from all one’s heart.
The chemistry between them makes their relationship believable, despite all odds.
Sure, I didn’t care much for the lead male’s character, Jaggi, played by Sunny Kaushal. A relentless creep with witty lines is still a grade-A creep. Even if, like many other creeps, he thinks he’s being cute and is absolutely comfortable in his skin. Still a creep. Even if he encourages and inspires a friend to do her best, he is still a creep. But, I know, I don’t have to like all the protagonists.
The bigger picture problem is that this is being passed off as romantic. Sure, the film’s other issues like racism and misogyny are bothersome, but they are in passing. The film’s central theme is the kind of romance that makes people watching these films think it is okay to behave like him. Like a creep. The type whose over-familiarity sends a crawl under one’s skin.
The entire 140 minutes revolve around his persistent love for the lead lady, Kartika, played by Radhika Madan. So focussed is Shiddat on this endeavour that it doesn’t even bother building other characters. Kartika is a strong woman. Even though the film wants us to think she is a fatalistic woman and a submissive daughter, she can hold her ground when she wants to.
The only glitch is she seems to have a weird concept of the kind of person she can love. The film’s explanation is that she is confused. She says these lines expressing self-doubt and self-loathing that come out of nowhere. Or at least, we are not shown the basis.
It feels like the writers were following the path of least resistance and most convenience while writing her character. Not to mention that it reinforces the assumption that stalkers can get away with a lot. That stalkers are acknowledged as stalkers in the film does not make them any less problematic. And goodness, isn’t it time men who talk dirty about women are called off by men even if they are not their sister, mother, friend, wife, girlfriend, etc.?
The same goes for the second pair of lead characters Gautam (Mohit Raina) and Ira (Diana Penty). Gautam and Ira exist only to showcase the contrast between shiddat and not shiddat—between wanting something really bad and being okay with not getting what you want. Having said that, the writers did pick an interesting point of difference between Gautam and Ira. But they don’t explore it too much. So, it ends up being just a tool for what happens between them.
All of this could be excused if Shiddat didn’t try to pass of creepiness as ‘shiddat’.
The performances keep the film afloat. Sunny Kaushal is appropriately earnest, Radhika Madan adequately ambiguous. The chemistry between them makes their relationship believable, despite all odds. We don’t really know why he likes her other than that he is attracted to how she looks. Mohit Raina and Diana Penty don’t sizzle but have a strong enough presence to hold your interest.
The film is shot captivatingly too. Even if the characters commute in front of the Louvre for no good reason. A good background cannot be wasted, I understand. Each situation in the film, though, seems to stretch a bit. Were they all trimmed a bit, we could have had a crisper, maybe even more palatable film.
The film is, after all, rather meta. It shows you what happens when you believe in filmy stuff which borderlines on relentless creepiness.
- meeta, a part of the audience
Thumbs up, by JOGINDER TUTEJA, Planet Bollywood : ...As for the film as a whole, Shiddat is a unique love story that has the kind of moments that are so realatable, and yet there is a definite filmy feel about it. It touches your heart, especially if you have been madly in love. For some, it may come across as impractical but then for those who truly believe in crossing all frontiers to find the love of their life, Shiddat is a must watch.... full review
So-So, by Subhash K Jha, Bolly Spice : ...Shiddat is a watchable moving film with Sunny Kaushal and Mohit Raina steering the saga through its choppy waters (in swimming pools and mid-ocean). Radhika Madan is spunky. She would do better if she were to improve her diction. “I am sorry” sounds like “I am soggy” which acquires an unintentionally ironic lilt considering she says it when has just emerged from the pool... full review
So-So, by Devesh Sharma, Filmfare : ...As said earlier, Shiddat is a movie strictly suited for die-hard romantics. Just to make it more realistic, director Kunal Deshmukh has also touched upon the problem of illegal immigration in it but it’s for cosmetic effect indeed. He has managed to derive credible performances from the main cast, however, that’s the big plus indeed. If only he had worked harder on the script as well..... full review
So-So, by Samriddhi Srivastava, india today : ...Director Kunal Deshmukh, who has made films like Tum Mile and Jannat, Shiddat is not the best he has delivered so far. But, he did extract outstanding performances from the principal cast... full review
So-So, by R.M. VIJAYAKAR, India West : ...Mohit Raina is handicapped by a confused role but still passes muster despite showing limited expressions. Diana Penty is absolutely wasted as this bubbly actress deserved much better than this sketchy character—in fact, she is leagues better than Madan, whose stock expressions and fixed way of dialogues delivery soon gets on one’s nerves. Vidhatri Bandi as her friend and Chirag Malhotra as the renegade one-time friend of Jaggi are good in their brief roles.... full review
So-So, by ARNAB BANERJEE, Outlook India : ...For all those who look for a break from monotony, I would suggest them to see the first half as an entertainer that had all the frills for an engaging emotional saga, but just fizzles out thereafter!... full review
So-So, by Ronak Kotecha, Times of India : ...The major problem with ‘Shiddat’ is that it’s an exciting idea on paper that tends to drag in execution, especially in the second half. The story is highly unrealistic at times and preposterous too, but what keeps it going is the sense of volatility and suspense. However, it’s true that in today’s world of realistic cinema, we often don’t get to see completely mad, raw and defiant love stories. This one goes there with Shiddat, but doesn’t leave you deeply moved.... full review
Thumbs down, by Vineeta Kumar, Bollywood Life : ...Even with decent performances, the story of Shiddat is jaw-droppingly impractical and the love that it talks about is not meant for regular, normal people. Love knows no boundaries but you don’t have to go literal about it!... full review
Thumbs down, by Madhuri V, Filmi Beat : ...Manan Bhardwaj's soothing vocals make the title track a blissful listen. 'Barbaadiyan' is definitely going to be a hit with the party animals for its peppy beats and catchy lyrics. These two are our picks though the rest of the songs are also hummable but need repeated hearing for recall value.... full review
Thumbs down, by Shubhra Gupta, indian express : ...Mohit Raina’s character gets to look askance several times. We don’t blame him: how do you take a film seriously when the leading man who was until recently petrified of a swimming pool, jumps into the ocean (choppy waves! churning propellers! ships!) to get to the girl of his dreams? The preposterousness carries on, and on. And finally, when the secret of taking a ride on an airplane, as a freezing stowaway, comes to the fore, we are done.... full review
Thumbs down, by Saibal Chatterjee, NDTV : ...No matter what flighty noises Shiddat makes in the course of its two-and-a-half hours, its heart isn't always in the right place. At one point, the object of the hero's affection says she feels like a 90s Hindi film heroine. She isn't far off the mark. What the voice of Shiddat transmits is barely in sync with what its soul communicates. Like the two principal characters, they pull in different directions. Not a pretty spectacle... full review
Thumbs down, by Sonal Dedhia, News18.com : ...The fact that does not lose it's core massage, that of love, is one of it's few redeemable factors. Without giving away any spoilers the climax leaves you with a big twist but unfortunately by that time, it becomes too late to bother about it. Despite its rousing moments, the film leaves you feeling unfulfilled.... full review
Thumbs down, by Shreya Mukkerjee, NewsBytes : ...Raina delivers the best acting performance, followed by Kaushal. The actresses disappoint. Its two-hour-26-minute length doesn't help their case either. The only thing going for Shiddat is its album, especially the title track. In case you wanted a taste of everything wrong with Bollywood's vision of romance, sure give Shiddat a shot.... full review
Thumbs down, by Sukanya Verma, Rediff : ...What should be a cautionary tale on choosing your one-night stands with care becomes another lousy attempt to rehash the Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge... full review
Thumbs down, by Nandini Ramnath, Scroll.in : ...Kaushal is solidly backed by Mohit Raina. The encounters between Jaggi and Gautam are far more touching than the long-distance relationship between Jaggi and Kritika. The young couple’s turmoil runs parallel to Gautam’s own troubled marriage with Ira (Diana Penty).... full review
Thumbs down, by Stutee Ghosh, The Quint : ...Shiddat remains a film about a guy throwing a massive tantrum and spoiling the party for everyone. Nothing to love here really, though it would be interesting to see more of Mohit Raina and Diana Penty in a better film.... full review
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