Generally, most light entertainers don't come with a heavy baggage. Since there's not much logic involved, all that the director and his team of writers have to do is go for a script that has scope for comedy and importantly, pick and choose actors who are gifted enough to carry the roles with elan.
While Mukta Arts Ltd.'s SHAADI SE PEHLE, directed by Satish Kaushik, gets it right in its choice of actors [Akshaye, Mallika mainly], it falters in the most vital department: Script. Armed with an interesting plot, you expect the film to be a laughathon, from start to finish, but the film amuses in parts.
Inspired by director Rajat Rakshit's Amol Palekar-Ranjeeta-Ashok Saraf starrer MERI BIWI KI SHAADI , SHAADI SE PEHLE takes the same route as NO ENTRY, GARAM MASALA and MALAMAAL WEEKLY. Meaning, don't look for logic when you watch the film. But the makers have to ensure that the content has the meat to keep you glued for the next two hours.
Unfortunately, SHAADI SE PEHLE lacks the power and punch to keep you hooked. It's way below expectations!
Ashish [Akshaye Khanna] and Rani [Ayesha Takia] are pretty much in love with each other. But Ashish has a problem: At the slightest level of tension, Ashish needs to pop a pill to unrattle his shaken nerves. Rani's family [Vijayendra Ghatge, Kishori Shahane Vij] are strictly against the relationship. And if that is not enough for Ashish, his childhood friend, Rohit [Aftab Shivdasani], has the hots for Rani.
When Ashish goes to visit his doctor [Boman Irani], he misunderstands the doctor's diagnosis of hypertension to cancer. Ashish's world turns upside down. Before dying, he decides to do the right thing: He wants the best for his love Rani. Along with his friend [Rajpal Yadav], Ashish embarks on a plan to make Rani hate him so that she will not have to suffer the ordeal of his death.
Ashish starts flirting with the sexy supermodel Sania [Mallika Sherawat]. Seeing Sania in Ashish's arms, Rani is dejected and dumps him. But there's a twist in the tale: Ashish realizes that he does not suffer from cancer at all. He decides to break up Rani and Rohit's engagement. But there are problems...
Will Ashish be able to convince Rani of his true feelings and clear up the mess? Will Ashish be able to convince Sania's elder goon-brother Anna [Suniel Shetty], who wants to get Sania and him married without further delay?
With an interesting concept on hand, SHAADI SE PEHLE could've, and should've, developed into an entertaining joyride, but what you get is not what you expect from a film that boasts of impressive names on and off screen.
The problem lies in the fact that SHAADI SE PEHLE tries too hard to make you laugh. At times, you do enjoy the humor, but at most times it falls flat. There are sequences that do bring the house down. For instance, the Akshaye-Rajpal Yadav sequence at the start of the film [when Akshaye confides that he's going to die] is hilarious. Even the Akshaye-Boman Irani sequence at the latter's clinic evokes mirth.
Mallika's track is another ace. The bindaas attitude her character exudes as also the glamour quotient that comes with Mallika is eye candy for the junta.
Unfortunately, SHAADI SE PEHLE goes downhill in the second hour. The comic scenes in the post-interval portions appear superficial and that's a major slip-up. Also, there are unwanted tracks in the plot, like the Gulshan Grover sub-plot which only acts as an impediment. Ditto for Suniel Shetty's portions, which was the need of the story for sure, but how one wishes the writer would've garnished those portions imaginatively.
Even the climax, which should've been the mainstay of the enterprise, lacks conviction. Ideally, the concluding portions should leave an ever-lasting impression, but in this case, it comes across as a half-baked effort.
Director Satish Kaushik is not in form this time around. His choice of the subject is right, but the screenplay lets him down to a major extent. Sanjay Chhel's writing evokes mixed feelings. While the screenplay interests in parts [not amongst Chhel's better attempts], the dialogues penned by him are excellent. In fact, the witty one-liners are the highpoint of the enterprise.
Himesh Reshammiya's music may not be of hit variety, but it serves the purpose nevertheless. Yet, given the kind of music Mukta Arts has come up with in the past, you miss a hit score in the film. 'Ankhiyon Se Gal Kar Gayee', 'Bijuria' and 'Tere Liye' are foot-tapping nonetheless. Cinematography [Johny Lall] is enticing, especially the locales of Malaysia.
Akshaye scores yet again. The various expressions that flash on his face within a fraction of a second reiterate the fact that he's amongst the best in the business. Extremely efficient at all times! Ayesha Takia gets to play the conventional heroine, but the role appears so boring in today's times. Even otherwise, the actress enacts her part mechanically and needs to get her styling right. Mallika Sherawat is a star, not an actor, and the makers understand it well enough. There's no effort to depict Mallika as an actress, but a seductress and that's precisely why this character works.
Suniel Shetty doesn't impress. Aftab Shivdasani plays second fiddle right through. However, the long hair suits him. Rajpal Yadav excels once again. Although he tends to go over the top at times, he does make you laugh whenever he appears on screen. Anupam Kher looks disinterested. Gulshan Grover is wasted. Ditto for Vijayendra and Kishori Shahane Vij.
On the whole, SHAADI SE PEHLE has its share of fun-filled moments, but the film doesn't make much of an impact in totality, thanks to a weak second half. At the box-office, the 4-day weekend and the onset of summer vacations may help to an extent, but it lacks the power to sustain after the euphoria settles.