In a sense, Aaha Kalyanam is an interesting, perhaps even important, film. In a cinema culture obsessed with virginity, it’s refreshing to light on Shruthi (Vaani Kapoor), who begins a wedding-planning business with Shakthi (Nani) and gradually falls in love with him. After executing a big contract, they end up celebrating – with champagne. A woozy-headed kiss leads to sex, and she’s happy. But soon she discovers that he isn’t. He’s confused about their relationship status. Are they just business partners or… partners? And when she casually lets slip that that night might not have meant much, he leaps at this out with visible relief. And she’s crushed – not because she’s had sex with him and he’s not going to marry her, and not because she could be pregnant, but because something that meant so much to her means so little to him. She doesn’t regret having sex, but the fact that to him it’s just sex, nothing more.
Band Baaja Baaraat mined gold from this premise. The film was an example of how relatively standard-issue rom-c0m fare could be transcended – indeed, made transcendent – through terrific casting, staging and a feel for both the milieu and the material. Gokul Krishna’s remake follows the original almost beat for beat, but never does anything more. Vaani Kapoor appears so invested in pronouncing her lines right that she hasn’t any energy left for a performance. Nani gamely allows his Telugu accent to be mocked – but the role, especially during the final declaration of love, calls for much more. The supporting characters aren’t well developed (the actress who plays Shruthi’s mother is good, though). And despite some wonderfully conversational dialogue, we’re left with the strange feeling of watching a Hindi movie dubbed in Tamil, along with the realisation that a story alone doesn’t make a movie.
* Aaha Kalyanam = Wow, it’s a wedding…
* a cinema culture obsessed with virginity = see discussion here
* Band Baaja Baaraat = see here
* pronouncing her lines right = to see what a non-Tamil actress usually does in a Tamil movie, see here
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