Shiddat – True, we don’t frequently get to see absolutely insane, primal, and defiant love stories in today’s realistic movies. This one follows in the footsteps of Shiddat, although it doesn’t leave you feeling very touched. A PROBLEMATIC BUT PASSIONATE LOVE STORY.
Critic’s Rating: 3.0/5
A young lover with great tenacity alters his life’s direction to follow the lady he believes to be his soulmate. However, his voyage, which spans countries, is riddled with issues, reality checks, and what appears to be a one-sided fixation. Will he find love or will he perish in his search?
When Jaggi (Sunny Kaushal) watches Kartika (Radhika Madan) emerge from the water, it’s love at first sight. However, sparks do not fly immediately, as an intricate ‘nafrat pyaar ki pehli seedi hai’ process ensues, with Jaggi attempting to court the lady with every trick in the book. There’s a lot of fun to be had here, as filmmaker Kunal Deshmukh transports us to a 90s-style film set in the present day.
It’s a little off-putting to witness a highly driven young man who is fascinated with a female and won’t take no for an answer – something that was not only acceptable but actually celebrated in the 1990s with song and dance. ‘Shiddat’ gets perilously near, but happily, the authors (Shridhar Raghavan, Dheeraj Rattan) give the girl plenty of agency, allowing her to stand up for herself.
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‘Shiddat’ is a passionate love story shown entirely through the eyes of its male protagonist Jaggi, whose frenzied devotion is allowed enough time to develop. The first half of the film is light and breezy, with campus romance, flirtation, and a lot of naach gaana – in other words, everything but academics. What works here is the element of surprise, as you wonder what will happen next in this unlikely love tale.
‘Shiddat’ has a small cast of characters, which is refreshing, although their individual arcs should have been more clearly defined. Mohit Raina and Diana Penty’s tale lacks conviction and appears to exist just to support the major storyline, which is great, but it doesn’t feel genuine. Sunny Kaushal has the most difficult time portraying a bouncing lover-boy with significant boundary difficulties, and despite his best efforts, his character graph becomes too hard to accept.
Radhika Madan has a hard time portraying Kartika’s inner battle on film, largely fumbling to communicate her anxiousness. Gautam, the honorable Indian immigration lawyer in a new place, is wonderfully acted by Mohit Raina, but there are too many cinematic liberties to take him seriously. Diana Penty is stunning as the self-assured young Ira, but her character might have been fleshed out more fully. The music in ‘Shiddat’ (Sachin-Jigar) is above average for a love story, and it develops on you and is cleverly utilized to complement the plot. The film’s visual sophistication is enhanced by its exquisite cinematography (by Amalendu Chaudhary).
The main issue with ‘Shiddat’ is that it has a great premise on paper but drags in execution, particularly in the second half. The plot is absurd and preposterous at moments, but the sense of turbulence and tension keeps it going. However, in today’s realistic film world, we don’t frequently get to experience absolutely insane, raw, and defiant love tales. This one follows in the footsteps of Shiddat, although it doesn’t leave you feeling very touched.
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