Banner: Maddock Films
Producer: Dinesh Vijan
Director: Laxman Utekar
Cast: Kartik Aaryan, Kriti Sanon, Pankaj Tripathi, Aparshakti Khurana, Vinay Pathak, Atul Shrivastava, Himanshu Kohli, Vishwanath Chatarjee, Ajit Singh, Alka Amin, Neha Saraf
Writer: Rohan Shankar
Music: Tanishk Bagchi, White Noise Studio, Abhijit Vaghani
In keeping with the current theme of adding smart and unusual twists to our stories, Laxman Utekar’s Luka Chuppi is centred on the theme of a couple having a live-in relationship with the entire family involved. The film is a smart combination of a good cast, an engaging plot and some chartbuster songs, which makes it perfect for the audience.
The story of the film begins with Guddu Shukla, a reporter for a small news channel in Mathura doing a feature on people’s reactions to live-in relationships, alongside Rashmi Trivedi, the daughter of a local politician whose mudda for the upcoming election is to eradicate the live-in concept.
Guddu and Rashmi fall in love but the latter is sceptical about marriage and, in a rebellious step, suggests that they live together in another city before they tie the knot. The youngsters live together for a few days in Gwalior, posing as a married couple. Alas, their sham is unearthed as the families find them and assume that they have had a runaway wedding. Now forced to continue the live-in relationship with the entire Shukla family involved, Guddu and Rashmi try to find several ways to get out of this mess. The result is a hilarious roller-coaster ride that ends in a predictable but sweet climax.
The first half of the film whizzes by as the romance between the lead actors is established but the slightly prolonged drama surrounding their wedding ceremony in the second half makes you feel that this part could have been crisper.
We all know that small-town stories are the big-ticket winners today, and Luka Chuppi, set in Mathura and Gwalior, gets the flavor just right. Utekar’s vision is evident in the way he smartly uses the background to set his theme. Writer Rohan Shankar’s interpretation of the small-town mentality might feel like it is exaggerated at some point but that is only to the people not living there. Both Shankar and Utekar have rightly balanced the message that they want to give out to the audience by peppering it with humourous bits of dialogue and situations.
The film deals with an issue which might sound comical in the setting of this particular story but in reality, it is a topic of deep debate in India. The concept of live-in relationships has been shown in films before, like Salaam Namaste and Shuddh Desi Romance, but the familial twist in this film makes all the difference.
Despite its freshness, the film does have a few flaws. The events that unfold in the second half have loopholes that are pretty obvious. Supporting actors like Pankaj Tripathi and Aparshakti Khurana have their characters established but the humour level would have risen significantly if there was more meat to their roles.
Knowing that Utekar is also an ace cinematographer, it is no doubt that the cinematography by Milind Jog is appealing as he captures the lanes of Mathura and Gwalior beautifully. The songs of the film have been hits ever since the first track, Poster, released. This, followed by other melodiously recreated numbers like Photo, Coca cola and Duniya, have already made the film a must-watch among youngsters. The makers have made sure that even with a theme like this, the film is a clean comedy that will appeal to the masses including the family audience and the youth.
Performance-wise, Kartik Aaryan has held his ground as he comes back with another lovable character. The actor is charming and grasps the small-town boy act well, all of which accentuates his comic timing. Kriti Sanon gives us another rebellious character after Bareilly Ki Barfi but one with more finesse and strength. Pankaj Tripathi as the family-fight instigator gets laughs whenever he comes on screen. Aparshakti Khurana’s subtle demeanour and punch lines are amazing. Vinay Pathak as the strict father is good and so is Atul Shrivastava. Other actors, like Himanshu Kohli, Vishwanath Chatarjee, Ajit Singh, Alka Amin and Neha Saraf, are also strong.