This Article is From Jun 23, 2023

Tiku Weds Sheru Review: Well-Intentioned But Sputtering Black Comedy

Tiku Weds Sheru Review: Nawazuddin Siddiqui possesses exceptional comic timing but he hasn't generally had much luck with comedies.

Tiku Weds Sheru Review: Well-Intentioned But Sputtering Black Comedy

Nawazuddin and Avneet in Tiku Weds Sheru. (courtesy: YouTube)

An unusual lead pair - Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Avneet Kaur - and an off-kilter plot hinging on an odd couple lend an element of freshness to Tiku Weds Sheru, a well-intentioned but sputtering black comedy that alternates unevenly between the comic and the grave.

With its novelty wearing off quickly and the broad-strokes characters sinking into a rut of the script's making, the film struggles with both momentum and tonal consistency. In its first 30 minutes or so, Tiku Weds Sheru rattles along pretty nicely. By the halfway mark it slackens sharply. It ends up huffing and puffing its way to a none-too-startling climax.

Produced by Kangana Ranaut's newfangled banner Manikarnika Films and streaming on Amazon Prime Video, Tiku Weds Sheru is directed and co-written by Sai Kabir. He tries hard to spotlight the tougher, seamier side of the Mumbai movie industry and the struggles of those that are condemned to languish on its fringes.

Tiku Weds Sheru tells the story of an ambitious male junior artiste who doubles up as a pimp to make ends meet and a reckless Bhopal girl who aspires to be a movie star and agrees to marry the former because she sees the alliance as a stepping stone to bigger things.

Shiraz Khan Afgani 'Sheru' (Siddiqui), is a poetry-spouting wheeler dealer who lives with a cat named Elizabeth. Tasleem 'Tiku' Khan (Kaur) is a wet-behind-the ears dreamer desperate to break away from her conservative small-town family and take a shot at Bollywood stardom.

The two have nothing in common except their love for the movies. They marry after an initial hiccup that nearly scuppers the deal. However, their life together isn't a happy story. A web of lies and subterfuge collides with the aspirations of a girl innocent enough to believe that the shift to Mumbai will change her life for the better and lift her out of oblivion and privation. I hate poverty, she says.

Sheru writes mawkish poetry when he isn't on a film set as an extra itching for the limelight. In one of his verses, he makes no bones about the precarious state of his life: "Mera dil hai kaanch ke tukde/Tu chalna na nange paaon (My heart is like shards of glass, do not walk barefoot).

Sheru the struggler is compelled to dance to the tune of the underworld and a political leader in order to keep alive his passion for acting even as he strays into a shady world. Main jo bhi karta hoon shiddat se karta hoon, and it's a fact," he reminds everyone within earshot.

When Tiku enters his life, Sheru feels the need to make a fresh beginning and sever ties with his criminal associates. That is obviously easier said than done. His past deeds refuse to go away. He hides his reality from his wife. His deceits trigger both drama and farce without yielding much percentage.

The unsuspecting Tiku has her own big secrets that tumble out even before the newly-weds get to know each other. She is willy-nilly sucked into a sordid orbit that is inhabited by a gay politician Chandresh Bhund (Suresh Vishwakarma), his rival Ahmed Rizvi (Zakir Hussain) and crime lord Shahid Ansari (Vipin Sharma). These are men Sheru cannot wish away as he struggles to make a fresh start.

Sheru is no tiger and Tiku is no pushover. The latter lives on the edge, takes major risks and plunges into a fraught liaison with an ulterior motive. The film is about a recalcitrant ingenue's journey from hope to despair as much as it is an account of a bruised and battered man's attempts to grab a second chance.

In the course of a nighttime romp on a beach, Tiku likens Sheru's soul to malpua. The latter returns the favour by comparing the girl heart with Shahi tukda. The sweet nothings do not mean anything in the long run because neither their life nor the film manages to steer away from the quagmire of mediocrity.

Tiku Weds Sheru wants to project itself as a film about a strong and spirited girl willing to go the distance in pursuit of her dream. But it frequently reduces the female protagonist to a damsel who paints herself into a corner and then needs to be rescued.

At one point, Tiku asserts that she does not need any favours. At another, she resolves to take matters into her hands. But no, the film isn't going to allow her to thrive on her own terms quite to the extent that she wants to. She is after all a babe in the woods who cannot do without a man by her side.

Tiku's frequent vacillations from strength to vulnerability, from rebelliousness to conformity not only mar the essence of the character but also undermines the impact of the story of a girl who is anything but apologetic about the choices she makes.

Sheru's magnanimity saves Tiku from a tight emotional spot early in the film. In the climax, which plays out in a farmhouse in the outskirts of the city, his courage in the face of adversity comes in handy.

But no matter what Nawazuddin Siddiqui does, the film fails to gather steam. The actor possesses exceptional comic timing - an attribute that is on ample display here - but he hasn't generally had much luck with comedies. It is no different with Tiku Weds Sheru.

Avneet Kaur, in her first movie lead role, does her bit as the girl who goes astray in search of an elusive goal. But trapped in a contrived script, she has way too much to do to keep the film from going off the rails.

If not an unmitigated mess, Tiku Weds Sheru is a muddle that never finds a way out.


Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Avneet Kaur


Sai Kabir