“Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety”… Another Luv Ranjan film, aka some mild laughs buried in a mountain of misogyny

Posted on March 4, 2018


Spoilers ahead…

Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety is a Luv Ranjan film, which is all the explanation you need, really. The man is his own genre: the battle-of-the-sexes “comedy,” topped with a longish rant by Kartik Aaryan. (We get one right at the beginning.) Ranjan’s films are ostensibly light, frothy entertainers but they make you want to run home and write a clammy-handed thesis about the gender dynamics in today’s twentysomethings. The girl (Sweety, played by Nushrat Bharucha) says, “Dost aur ladki mein hamesha ladki jeetti hai.” (In a contest between the best friend and the girl, the girl always wins.) The best friend (Kartik Aaryan’s Sonu) bets otherwise. The film is the tug of war between them. They are fighting for ownership of Titu (Sunny Singh), who has all the personality of the big, fat, invisible rope between Sonu and Sweety.

Get-a-room-guys! bromances are nothing new in Hindi cinema, but Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety goes someplace that a Sangam, say, did not (or could not) go: the notion that you need a girl for sexual gratification but she cannot give you the emotional gratification your best friend can. Sonu actually asks Titu, “Why do you need a wife when I am there?” Elsewhere, he issues an ultimatum that echoes in the climax. “Ya to woh, ya main.” (It’s either her or me.) Titu smiles indulgently through all this, because, to him, this borderline-psychotic behaviour simply means his best friend is looking out for him. (He thinks this is Sonu’s “motherly instinct,” thus proving what damage is wrought when a child is named Titu!)

Ranjan’s is a world where getting married means the woman will make you eat egg-white omelettes and bajre ki roti, and marriage means you get to meet your friends once in three months, if that. The horror, the horror — it’s the very apocalypse. The premise isn’t entirely preposterous. Life does have a way of isolating you from friends you thought you’d be hanging around with forever, but a film from an older era would have punched up these emotions. We get a song that goes “Tu jo rootha to kaun hansega… tera yaar hoon main” –– an older film would have built up to this song. (Think of the melancholic reprise of Yeh dosti in Sholay.) Very late in the film (and too late for it to matter), we learn how Sonu looked after Titu in school, and how Titu looked after Sonu after the latter’s mother died. Why not sprinkle these revelations throughout and make us see what these two mean to each other?

Without this, Titu comes off like a dolt and Sonu like a dickish, entitled misogynist who sets Titu up with the very same girl he was once convinced was wrong for Titu –because anything is better than Titu ending up with Sweety. The film plays like an expansion of an episode from Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, where Anushka Sharma takes it upon herself to show Ranbir Kapoor that Lisa Haydon is wrong for him. But what seemed harmless there looks noxious here. We might have had something if the one-upmanship games between Sonu and Sweety had at least been fun. This is what we get: Sonu says something incriminating, and discovers, to his horror, that Sweety has been recording everything on her phone. Aren’t today’s kids smarter than that? Oh, and the women! They look like plastic dolls and are eminently interchangeable. I laughed when this other girl eyeing Titu says, “Sweety aur mujh me farq kya hai?” (What’s the difference between Sweety and me?) Erm… nothing?

Why is Sweety such a witch? Because there’d be no movie if she actually had issues that made her act this way, as opposed to the fact that she is this way because, duh, she is a woman. Everyone’s a cardboard construct. Sonu and Titu barely seem to be friends. They could be two guys who met in a bar and found each other fun to drink with. Some mild laughs apart, the only thing about these films is that they are easy on the eye. The colours are bright and the supporting cast (Alok Nath in an atypically caddish role, a delightfully dry Virendra Saxena, Ayesha Raza as Titu’s easygoing mother) is terrific. But this is small comfort in a film hell-bent on convincing us that the world would be more Edenic if there were only Adam and Steve.

Copyright ©2018 Baradwaj Rangan. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety without permission. A link to this URL, instead, would be appreciated.

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi