Zoya Akhtar puts together Bollywood’s roster of A list actors in a comedy drama about high class families and the plastic nature of their relationships; a satirical drama on feuds between affluent societies and dissention within families that choose to dissemble their true feelings and put on a façade of harmony to avoid tarnishing their reputation in the society. Its quite different from Akhtar’s previous ventures, which were a little less on comedy than this one.
Anil Kapoor plays a businessman who is trying to keep his company afloat, along with trying to handle the dysfunctional relationship he has with his wife. His daughter, Ayesha, played superbly by Prianka Chopra, is a brilliant entrepreneur and is the worthy successor to his throne, but is denied her chance in accordance with her family’s patriarchal inheritance tradition. She is married to Manav (Rahul Bose) and expected to honor the marriage despite being miserable with him. Her brother, Kabir (Ranveer Singh), however, has neither the skills nor the interest to run the company, and has little idea about what he wants to do in life. This family, or atleast the parents, don’t communicate their feelings and is constantly in the fear of hurting their reputation by doing anything unconventional. The family throws a cruise trip with friends and family and the journey reveals a lot about the characters’ individual ambitions and feelings.
The movie definitely speaks to the finesse with which Zoya Akhtar can manage so many characters and give each of them their screen time and story. Not one major character feels left out and not one actor is left with a role that does not portray his skills in entirety and in that sense, this is as good a movie as Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. Undoutedly, the most brilliant aspect of the movie is the fantastic acting. Although Anushka Sharma is a letdown, all others are at their best. The thing about comedy dramas is that there is a lot of scope for actors to really display their versatile talents with a gamut of emotions, and among these actors, Shefali Shah and Ranveer Singh are definitely the stars of the show. Farhan Akhtar, in his special appearance manages to win hearts once again. There are tense scenes as well as jocular ones and everyone is equipped to play all of them. The movie also deserves credit for fine cinematography of exotic places and the background music gives the genre its characteristic feel.
The movie is definitely not without flaws. There are several clichés and the script starts getting too messy towards the end. The climax is a farrago with everyone running here and there, giving it a feel of those old Priyadarshan comedies. The entire relationship between Ranveer Singh’s and Anushka Sharma’s characters’ seems superfluous and to be frank, the movie would have definitely felt better without Anushka Sharma in it. There are item numbers and songs that are neither musically nor visually pleasing.
All in all, Zoya Akhtar is a fine director, but the movie pales in comparison to her other work. Don’t get me wrong: the movie is perfectly watchable and enjoyable, but it’s not unique in any way. If you are free and have no plans, it’s a good choice. I will rate it 7 on 10.