A father is trying to get his daughter married. An unsuccessful writer is looking for inspiration. And a daughter is living with a life altering and defining secret. It's all wrapped in traditional Bollywood attire. Dance numbers, a soothing love track, hilarious supporting characters, popular stars. The makers want everything to be the same expect the one thing. It's a commendable approach. You're shown a familiar world and are told to just open your eyes and heart a bit. Really, it doesn't take a lot.
Writer Gazal Dhaliwal and director Shelly Chopra Dhar have purposefully chosen a straightforward narrative which works to a great extent but takes some time to get to the point. But I imagine that's by design because they want you to know these people before making assumptions. As such, the writing in the 1st half isn't as sharp and engaging as you'd like it to be since it's the interval point that really gets you. You sit up and take notice here and are hooked for the rest of the journey.
Endearing characters make all the difference in this powerful ode to acceptance. Anil Kapoor is wonderful as the patriarch wanting to follow his own passion while trying to understand a brave new world. Juhi Chawla has a few lovely scenes and her chemistry with Mr. Kapoor will make you say aww. The always dependable Rajkummar Rao is the backbone for the story and its characters. He does a fine job and we expect nothing less from him. And Sonam K Ahuja, what do I say? You've won me over. She portrays a quiet pain with such few words. Her expressions and body language do most of the work. It's a touching performance. Seeing real-life father and daughter on screen for the first time is special. And even more so considering they chose to come together for this film.
Music is smartly integrated into the narrative and certain moments will surely haunt you. The visual of standing in a glass box looking outside but not being able to get out was heartbreakingly moving. How do you shatter lifelong prejudices, perceptions held by generations, and peoples' skewed views on what's right? And to make it mainstream, without hesitation, for a culture that has a hard time understanding anything different than their own normal is impressive.
This is Bollywood's coming of age film. An entire society is told to grow up. It says it gently with sensitive words for the hardheaded but it says it all the same. Its truth is its greatest strength. The kind of acceptance portrayed here is truly heartening. It was unheard of before now. I'm proud. Be that friend. Be that father. Be that cheering spectator. I've always said art can spark change and if one person rethinks their biases after watching this movie, mission accomplished. 'Lo karli humne jurat hai.' Indeed and kudos for it.