Just Married

foreign films

Just Married
Made in: India
Language: Hindi (I think) and English
Starring: Fardeen Khan, Esha Deol, Bikram Salujan, Perizaad Zorabian, Kirron Kher, Satish Shah, Raj Zutshi, Tarina Patel, Mukul Dev, Sadidya Siddique
Directed by: Meghna Gulzar
Year: 2007

Synopsis: This recent Bollywood film takes place In modern day India, where Abhay (Fardeen Khan) and Ritika (Esha Deol) are newlyweds thrown together by an arranged marriage. Although they question this seemingly outdated custom, they agree to the wedding out of respect for their doting parents and relatives.

While on their honeymoon in the beautiful resort town of Ooty, they meet and befriend several other couples. There's Rishab (Bikram Salujan) and Anu (Perizaad Zorabian), an amorous pair who can't seem to keep their hands off each other, the outgoing Arjun (Raj Zutshi) and Sarah (Tarina Patel), the sweet Shohib (Mukul Dev) and Ananiya (Sadidya Siddique), and an elderly couple played by Kirron Kher and Satish Shah, who seem to bicker incessantly.

Confusion and frustration start to creep in as Abhay makes an effort to get close to the distant Ritika. And as the title suggests, Just Married addresses a number of marriage/relationship issues over the course of the story as the couples share conversations, activities, and (as is common in many Indian films) occasional song and dance numbers.

The Good: Good cinematography, and the scenery of Ooty is easy on the eyes. And although a bit on the cheesy side, the song and dance parts seem to fit and are strangely hypnotic.

Kirron Kher and Satish Shah as the arguing old couple are the most convincing element in the movie, and some of their exchanges are definitely funny.

The Bad: Seeing how this is a story about a bunch of young couples in the woods, you might wonder why Just Married wasn't made into a horror movie instead.

The dull "story" mainly consists of frighteningly common relationship themes such as "where did you meet?", "you don't understand me!", "want to go for a walk?", "why does he/she do that?", "do you love me?", "why even get married?", "do you have to use the bathroom?", "Anyone want to do shots?"

Actually that very last line wasn't in the movie but I sure as heck felt like using it enough times while watching it.

Just Married should have been called Just Talking because the two-dimensional characters drone on, and on, and on about their issues, which you can find in any sitcom here in America.

Thematically, there is no subtlety or intellectual challenge in the way the subject matter is presented. Director Meghna Gulzar spells everything out for the viewer, and tries way too hard to be romantic and cute.

The worst thing about the movie, however, is Fardeen Khan's character Abhay (the protagonist). He has absolutely no flaws. He always says/does the right things (within the context of the flat and unnecessarily long script) and always knows what to do in every contrived situation.

This is supposed to make him sympathetic, but he unintentionally comes off as an annoying, unrealistic know-it-all. Effective protagonists should have at least one specific flaw. Making Abhay a hero trying to overcome Turrets Syndrome while on his honeymoon, for instance, would have vastly improved the story and made for some interesting moments. And if you've already seen this movie you'd probably agree with that assessment.

Final thoughts: All in all, many Bollywood films are known for their flair and to Gulzar's credit, Just Married is made with a certain boldness.

But I don't recommend it unless you're curious to see what a cinematic adaptation of a third rate relationship column looks like.

(1 & 1/2 out of 4 stars)

Review written by: Joe Yang

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