‘Ujda Chaman’ is an incisive satire on body shaming

‘Ujda Chaman’ tells us how heroic it is to be flawed so long as we accept our shortcomings

‘Ujda Chaman’ is an incisive satire on body shaming

Subhash K Jha

Fate is a strange bird. It brings good fortune most randomly to souls. Why else did Kartik Aryan become a star after Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety while the equally talented Sunny Singh who played Titu got left behind?

Hopefully Sunny will catch up with Ujda Chaman, a stinging and partially sharp and always blunt satire which takes potshots at the Adonis-Venus stereotype of Male and Female perfection that our cinema has propagated ever since Madhubala was wooed and won by Dilip Kumar. Ujda Chaman tells us how heroic it is to be flawed so long as we accept our shortcomings.

We  all know that there is nothing perfect about life, not the relationships and certainly not the pulls and  pressures that  bring couples together in a conflicted embrace. One such couple is the 30-year old bald but undefeated virgin Chaman(Sunny Singh)  and the  overweight  girl ironically named Apsara(Maanvi Gagroo, warm and  nurturing ).

Both Sunny and Gagroo bring such  identifiable warmth to their  roles of  social misfits, they are enough  reason to watch this  sincere and  endearing  rom-com about a receding hairline and a spirit of  optimism that just won’t  recede with the hairline.

Gagroo’s Apsara and  Sunny’s  Chaman meet on Tinder. And …well…it is  not love at  first sight. “Who goes to Tinder to  get married?” Apsaraasks us  loudly and scornfully . While they dislike one another  at first  sight their parents, given up on the idea of their  respective progenies  ever getting married, suddenly see a spark of hope….

That  Chaman’s parents are played  by the wonderfully over-the-top Grusha Kapoor and  Atul Kumar is just a lucky happenstance. The two veterans bring a flood of fervor to  Chaman’s desperate search for  a partner. Every actor even in the smallest parts is  effective.  Note  the  young boy who plays Chaman’s heckling student.

The performances never let the  script down. The background music does. Loud , intrusive, it tries to lead  us  through the characters’ emotions by painting big garish  signposts   to  those emotions.When will Indian cinema learn  to keep the background soundtrack uncluttered?

Debutant director Abhishek Pathak handles his  cast well. Most of the actors  leave   a lasting impression. The film says  a lot about  body shaming without diving into the deep-end. Pathak keep the proceedings equanimous and agreeable even while letting us know that there is more to  a marriage than meets the aisle.

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