Directed by: Bela Bhansali Sehgal
Starring: Boman Irani, Farah Khan and Daisy Irani
All pictures courtesy of : http://www.glamsham.com
According to the tagline of Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi (SFKTNP) (even the acronym is a mouthful!) “Love has no expiry date“. Neither does a good idea and that is exactly what SFKTNP is – a good idea executed with a light touch and a drive to entertain the audience throughout. With an assured confidence and deft touch, Sehgal creates a likeable set of characters that viewer gets to know well and most importantly, care for. The plot may take a backseat as it goes by numbers to its inevitable feelgood conclusion but thanks to the all important treatment and performances, SFKTNP is definitely a fun watch.
Perhaps the strongest point of the film is the presentation of a middle aged couple falling in love and making it work in the face of ageism and social stigma as well as parental pressure but unlike a Cheeni Kum which had cynicism and cheek at its fore (which is no bad thing in my opinion), SFKTNP keeps matters more neutral, making some interesting points but never really delving deeper into why the pressure to get married and “settled down” is seen as more important than pursuing one’s personal happiness. There are also a few wobbles in the screenplay that a more experienced director would be told off for but seeing as this is Sehgal’s directing debut, these can be overlooked without spoiling one’s enjoyment of the film.
SFKTNP boasts some impressive performances – namely Boman Irani who carries the film from start to finish, with an endearing and energetic performance – though he plays Farhad sympathetically, he also keeps the character’s dignity and determination intact which sounds easier to do than it actually is. I also love Boman’s versatility in that he can play the comedian, the villain or the good guy with conviction and manages to differentiate his take on a role from a stock portrayal. Farah Khan has fun in her debut acting role – it would be harsh to critique her acting skills too closely as she delivers what is asked for her and though she may seem a little reserved at times, she is to be applauded for taking a risk and going out of her comfort zone. I also loved Daisy Irani as the overbearing mother who provides the conflict with requisite craziness and humour.
All in all, Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi has that all important range in its appeal to be a family friendly entertainer. More importantly, the unconventional yet totally appropriate casting and the subject matter deserve encouragement as this film may not be a game changer but may just succeed in challenging a more conservative audience to accept different pairings in the mainstream and even encourage Hindi cinema to start exploring [shock horror] middle age love outside of college/foreign locales yet keeping within commercial parameters. After all, the change in attitudes has to start from somewhere….