(Published in The Sunday Guardian, on 26 August 2012, retrieved from http://www.sunday-guardian.com/masala-art/over-the-top-but-hilarious)
Cast: Farah Khan, Boman Irani, Daisy Irani, Shammi
Director: Bela Bhansali Sehgal
Rating: 3.5 stars
When a 45-year-old lingerie salesman meets a 40-year-old 36B, chances are that he can’t do much about furthering the count of his dwindling Parsi community. But he may, perhaps, get laid. And that’s the kind of thinking that gets him into a soup – only, the thinking is done by the bossy 36B.
Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s sister makes her way from the editing suite to the director’s chair for the first time – a debut that may have been as overdue as Farah Khan’s shift to the other side of the camera.
Farhad (Boman Irani) has seen the underclothes of many women – but never on them. Blame it on the ladies in his life – his domineering mother (Daisy Irani) and adoring grandmother (Shammi). As they consign themselves to a life without progeny, Farhad persists – putting up matrimonial ads that are designed for younger folk to cackle about.
When Shirin (Farah Khan), Secretary of the Parsi Trust, decides she needs some support, she gets a lot more than she bargained for. As a courtship unfolds, we’re invited into the private lives of Mumbai’s Parsi community – yes, we can tick the stereotypes off a checklist, but thanks to the lead actors, we get our laughs.
For a story whose premise is so original – when was the last time a romance was sparked off by distended abdomens, or threatened by a demolished water tank? – the plot is surprisingly flat. It hinges on its novelty in dabbling in mature love, and on the ability of its actors to pull off slapstick humour (of which there’s a tad too much).
The cast is fully capable of carrying off a film without much flesh, in a manner of speaking. There’s something endearing about Boman Irani’s portrayal of Farhad – his attempts to woo are as funny as they’re inept. Yet, he gets us thinking about what we’d do if the love we longed for 15 years ago were to turn up just as we’ve resigned ourselves to singledom.
Farah Khan as the officious, temperamental Shirin, strikes a chord in this over-the-top film. Though it’s loaded with in-jokes, what with Farah’s real-life aunt playing her antagonistic mother-in-law-to-be, the movie is engaging because of its fine cast. There are some incredibly cute scenes and, like all good rom-coms, it may leave you feeling just a bit sentimental.
The Verdict: Though banal at times, Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi is a mostly enjoyable film that has its audience rooting for a couple that does the most age-inappropriate things.