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Sunday, August 26, 2012

(Published in The New Sunday Express, on 26 August 2012, retrieved from

Cast: Farah Khan, Boman Irani, Daisy Irani, Shammi
Director: Bela Bhansali Sehgal
Rating: 3.5 stars
Very few men could get away with staring at a woman’s chest before opening the conversation. Farhad Pastakia (Boman Irani) can. Better still, women approve of the accuracy of his eye. Until Shirin Fugawala (Farah Khan) walks into his lingerie store. Now, Farhad has never been able to woo a woman. And that doesn’t change when Shirin walks into his store. However, that gives us plenty of grins and fun over the next hour or so, thanks to Boman Irani’s entirely believable portrayal.
 A 45-year-old man who lives with his overbearing Mummy, Nargis (Daisy Irani), and grandmother (Shammi), and sells bras and panties for a living, is unlikely to fit anyone’s vision of an ideal bridegroom. Worse, he insists on being honest about both his age and profession, to Nargis’ despair. Her attempts to correct his penchant for telling the truth make for some hilarious scenes. Both Iranis can carry off slapstick without making the audience want to groan, and that’s one of the biggest pluses in this film.
Because of some formidable acting, the clichés are tolerable. For instance, the constant demand for “good news” from relatives. And the stereotypes of Parsi eccentrics – the Miser, the Drunk, the Letter-Writer, and the Matriarch. There are times when the film gets a little too over-the-top – we’re not asking romantic comedies to be faithful to reality, but surely a discussion over supplying a watchman with hand-grenades is a bit of a stretch?
But that doesn’t take too much away from a film that’s enjoyable mostly because of how much it makes us smile. Irani excels as the shy bachelor, who is hesitant to make the moves on the woman he has a crush on. Farah Khan, in her acting debut, fits the role of the bossy Secretary of the Parsi Trust. And the love story focuses on the tender moments in the relationship – the first hug, the botched attempts at kissing, and the apprehensions that accompany the realisation that this could be The Real Thing.
Lines like, “I can really talk to you” find a foil in the spoofs of Bollywood songs. And the lead pair is complemented by the smaller characters. Daisy Irani, always a wonderful actress, excels in her role as the woman who will take on the entire Association to keep an illegal water-tank. Shammi looks every bit the doting grandmother whose little boy can do no wrong. And the characters who populate the Parsi community in the film endear themselves to us.
The Verdict: With just enough sentiment, and maybe a little too much slapstrick, Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi, makes for a pleasant enough weekend watch.


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