When a Bollywood romantic comedy begins on a note that’s heavily inspired (read ripped off) from Hollywood film Four Christmases featuring Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn and their kinky pretend-to-hook-up-in-nightclub fantasy, your heart just sinks. But fortunately, Shaadi Ke Side Effects redeems itself as we go along.
The credit has to be given to Vidya Balan, who plays Trisha, and Farhan Akhtar who plays the earnest Sid to perfection. They are in love and like any high-flying couple out there, the two know how to have fun in each other’s company. They love dancing and the two are shown soaking up the sun in Australia’s Gold Coast.
And the secret to their happy marriage is aptly summed up by Sid explaining to a confused married guy: “If you make a mistake, just say sorry” and “if she makes a mistake, you say sorry.” While his non-confrontational approach has served him well in the early years of marriage, their relationship takes a beating after Trisha gets knocked up accidentally. A baby in their life changes their dynamics. Gone was the fun Trisha and in her place, there is an overly critical and harried mother goose. While Sid is too old to be a boy, that doesn’t stop him from desperately clinging on to the last vestiges of bachelordom. Their transition from a loved-up couple to sleep-deprived parents is something to relish in the first half.
In most romantic comedies, the first half is always riveting; it’s the second half that turns painful. But Shaadi Ke Side Effects doesn’t succumb to that proverbial second-half curse. It’s entertaining to watch Sid swap his sturdy practical car for a testosterone-fuelled mean bike. He buys it and, of course, lies to his wife about it. After all, the secret to a healthy marriage is a string of white lies — we are told.
Helping him lead this swashbuckling double life is the talented duo Ram Kapoor (his suave banker of a brother-in-law) and Vir Das, the unkempt stoner who becomes his roommate. Ila Arun as the educated, matriarchal nanny also provides some laughs.
But it’s the chemistry between Balan and Akhtar that keeps this romantic comedy tingling. They have an effortless chemistry and we buy into their marriage madness primarily because of their acting muscles. While it’s engaging and non-preachy for most parts, it’s best if you don’t question how Sid, who plays a struggling musician, affords that slick lifestyle and a nanny in a single income household. If you can forego such practicalities, you are good to watch Shaadi Ke Side Effects.