2 Average

Barjatyas are back with their wedding-ceremony brand of home video entertainment. The kinds where the hero is still named Prem. The kinds where Alok Nath maintains an everlasting smirk on his face. The kinds where there is no palpable pause between two succeeding song numbers. The kinds where the kin doesn’t want to leave his ancestral mansion for a swanky new house.

Rajshri neither believes in upgrading with times nor in innovation. They continue the tradition of deriving from their inhouse library much like Hum Aapke Hai Kaun and Main Prem Ki Diwani Hoon were renovated versions of Nadiya Ke Paar and Chitchor respectively. This time the source of inspiration is their 1976 film Tapasya (for which Rakhee won the Best Actress Award).

This self-proclaimed marriage-video follows the ‘four weddings and a funeral’ format. Father figure Alok Nath wakes up every morning singing in glory of his ghar-ek-mandir. Daughter Chandni (Eisha Koppikhar) is trained in folk music. Prem (Sonu Sood) is a guitar-strumming aspiring singer. First she sings. Then he sings. They both are selected for some song competition. So they both sing. They both rehearse. They both perform. As this film almost transforms into a musical countdown show, one wonders if there are more songs than dialogues in the first half.

Expectedly the two fall in love. Their families consent. It’s always hale and hearty in the Barjatya state-of-affairs. The humans are all flawless in their films. The twist comes only through natural calamity. So Alok Nath passes away midways and it’s now up to Chandni to take care of her school-going siblings. She mutually decides with Prem to wait for marriage till the children grow up. While she starts offering singing lessons for survival, strangely she refuses to sing professionally which otherwise could gain her more name and fame.

12 years down the line, her siblings grow up but Chandni and Prem show no signs of ageing. Time for a marriage and so Chandni’s brother Anuj (Vishal Malhotra) ties the knot. But wife Natasha (Chhavi Mittal) is an English speaking high-class socialite who divides the joint family in the mode of those Jeetendra’s 80s Padmalaya Productions film. Time for another marriage as Chandni gets her sister Sandhya (Amrita Prakash) wedded to an NRI. While you may turn impatient over the monotony, Prem continues to wait patiently for years.

Everything from the story, setup to the music of the film appears outdated though the producers attempt to use this conservative and traditional approach as their USP. It’s like serving superlatively-sweet soft drinks in the age of diet beverages. The saccharine levels could almost subject you to diabetes. In times when the stress is on subtlety, this film ventures in the now unfamiliar territory of mush and melodrama.

The screenplay of the film follows a standard song-dance structure and the first half is practically devoid of a story, which initiates only after the father departs at the interval point. The characterizations are too idealistic to be believable or relatable in today’s flawed materialistic world. The music by Ravindra Jain is too stodgy to connect with, in contemporary times. The performances fall within the set Barjatya parameters.

If you can entirely endure reruns of Vivah even today, chances are you can sit at least half way through Ek Vivah Aisa Bhi . Such simplistic and linear storytelling used to induce smile a decade back. Today we only laugh at them.