This Article is From Jun 29, 2023

Satyaprem Ki Katha Review: At Best A Small Snack, Not A Full Meal

Satyaprem Ki Katha Review: Veterans Supriya Pathak and Gajraj Rao give performances that are strikingly effective despite the odds. Wish one could say the same about Kartik Aaryan and Kiara Advani

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Satyaprem Ki Katha Review: At Best A Small Snack, Not A Full Meal

Image was shared by Kiara Advani. (courtesy: kiaraaliaadvani)

New Delhi:

Seeking to deliver a social message via a musical love story, Satyaprem Ki Katha, directed by Sameer Vidwans, makes an important point but not before it covers itself with a whole lot of froth. Moreover, it does not say anything that Mumbai films haven't articulated in recent years.

Satyaprem Ki Katha tries exceedingly hard, but largely in vain, to attain a balance between the need to provide entertainment and the urge to pontificate on a matter of undeniable import. The film swings wildly from comedy to melodrama, from facetiousness to solemnity, in an elusive search of the right blend.

The film's two leads, Kartik Aaryan and Kiara Advani, are called upon to do most of the heavy lifting while supporting actors of the calibre of Supriya Pathak Kapur and Gajraj Rao are saddled with roles that are riddled with deleterious inconsistencies. The veterans give performances that are strikingly effective despite the odds.

Wish one could say the same about Kartik Aaryan and Kiara Advani. The effort that they make to strike the essential notes shows. That only aggravates an already sluggish and stodgy film that appears to put too much pressure on itself in an attempt to be meaningful in a way that genre movies rarely are. The intention is visible but the impact is erratic.  

Satyaprem Ki Katha, which is set in the city of Ahmedabad, is what could be likened to fafda. It is at best a small snack, not a full meal. The film takes a bite of this and a bite of that as it strives to string together a story of a cheerful boy who strives to rescue a girl from emotional and mental distress.

A drifter with a heart of gold enters the struggling young woman's life and thus begins a process of healing that frequently runs into heavy weather. Flippancy gives way to angry fulminations, a marriage runs into trouble, and a near-platonic friendship begins to take shape as the boy and the girl struggle to come to grips with grave issues.    

The film opens with a dream sequence – a peppy song, to be precise – that has the male protagonist, Satyaprem alias Sattu (Aaryan), imagining himself to be a ‘hero' who can do no wrong. When the guy isn't daydreaming, the good-natured Sattu is a jobless college dropout in a desperate hurry to get married and stop his mom from incessantly underestimating him.

With the help of his dad Narayan (Gajraj Rao), Sattu does the household chores while his cantankerous mother, Diwali (Supriya Pathak Kapur), and dismissive sister Sejal (Shikha Talsania) run Garba and Zumba classes respectively on the terrace of their two-storey house.

There is no love lost between Sattu and his mother and sister. His father is his sole soulmate, a man who relates with his lack of self-esteem and encourages him to do all that he needs to do in order to find a suitable girl.  

The young man does have a girl in his sight. The trouble is Katha Kapadia (Kiara Advani), daughter of the city's top farsan and dhokla seller, Harikishen (Siddharth Randeria), is out of his league by many, many miles. He is from Prahlad Nagar, she from Satellite Road.  

But when Sattu and his dad least expect it, Katha's father seeks his hand in marriage for his daughter. A shellshocked Sattu checks with Katha if she is in agreement with her father. He deigns to proceed only when the girl indicates her willingness. It is a marriage of two disparate minds – one unsullied, the other scarred. That turns out to be only the beginning of Sattu's troubles.

About thirty minutes into the film, the impression one begins to gather is that Satyaprem Ki Katha is out to make light of mental trauma and suicide. One squirms in discomfort. But things take a deadly serious turn in the second half as a yawning gap opens up between Sattu and his new bride for reasons that aren't instantly apparent but are crucial to the progress of the overly knotted plot.

From this point on, Satyaprem Ki Katha makes the right noises but it does way too much beating around the bush before it actually begins to fully verbalise what it is trying to convey to the audience. Katha talks about “second base” and “third base”, concepts that Sattu is blissfully oblivious of until matters get out of hand and he is required to swing into action.

A dark and painful secret tumbles out of the bedroom and all hell threatens to break loose. Sattu's amiable dad does a volte-face when his son needs him the most. The mother who spends the first half and beyond raving and ranting at Sattu turns out to be far more supportive – she takes a firm stand when push comes to shove.

Nearly two and a half hours long, Satyaprem Ki Katha ends with an elaborate religious ritual signifying both a process of cleansing of and a stamp of social endorsement for a girl who has been through hell but has received no salve from her immediate family until the advent of the righteous Sattu.

Before the end-credits item number – another Garba performance – unspools, the film provides statistics on the alarming frequency of sexual assaults in India and the overwhelming underreporting of cases that ensures that the country has the lowest per capita rape victims in the world.          

  So, Satyaprem Ki Katha educates while it entertains, but many of the creative choices that the script by Karan Shrikant Sharma makes and the directorial sleights that Vidwans resorts to lead to avoidably mawkish convolutions that the film is unable to snap out of, especially in the second half.

If mere intent could make a film, Satyaprem Ki Katha would be deemed a success. As for what it actually delivers, unevenness mars the show.

Cast:

Kiara Advani, Kartik Aaryan, Gajraj Rao, Supriya Pathak

Director:

Sameer Vidwans

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