This year’s first Punjabi release, Saadi Love Story, hit theatres this Friday to a packed house in most theatres. Directed by Dheeraj Rattan and produced by Jimmy Sheirgill and Eros Entertainment, the film stars almost every Punjabi actor worth his or her weight — from Amrinder Gill and Diljit Dosanjh to Surveen Chawla and Neeru Bajwa. While Neetu Singh and Rannvijay are relative newcomers, veterans Dolly Ahluwalia, Kulbhushan Kharbanda and Navneet Nishan make up for what the young cannot.
As the name suggests, Saadi Love Story is based on love stories — not one, not two, but three. Neetu Singh plays an aspiring fashion designer who is studying in Chandigarh. She concocts a story about a boyfriend, named Rajveer, to evade an arranged marriage and asks her grandfather, Kulbushan Kharbanda, for R50 lakh to start up a business with her boyfriend. After initial hesitation, the grandfather agrees, mostly at the behest of his other granddaughter, Surveen, also a die-hard romantic. Soon, Neetu is out of the picture, thanks to an accident that throws her into comatose. The plot, from here on, is dependent completely upon the mystery of two individuals who claim to be Neetu’s lovers and who install themselves, bag and baggage, at her residence.
Ahluwalia, who plays Neetu’s grandmother, and Nishan, who plays her mother, are so impressed by the two claimants, played by Amrinder and Diljit respectively, that they insist on the complete strangers’ indefinite stay in their house. What’s more, the family is soon conveniently oblivious of a family member lying in coma in the hospital, and is instead rejoicing the company of the two guests.
Surveen, Diljit and Amrinder may be credited with a convincing portrayal, even adding humour and jest to make up for a lousy storyline. But there is no getting away with serving audiences with a meaningless and hard-to-believe script, no matter how much ‘fun’ it is supposed to be.
Why the grandfather needs only an excuse to throw away money to the tune of rupees one crore is incomprehensible. Diljit is in danger of using his ‘desi’ image to the extent of saturation and monotony.
Though Amrinder seems to have improved his acting abilities by leaps and bounds, Neetu refuses to show any signs of improvement – be it in her sense of dressing or acting. Instead of coming across as an ambitious designer, as she remarked in one of her interviews, she seems careless and irresponsible. Her wardrobe, in most places, is almost embarrassing, perhaps made to look worse by an unfit body. Curves look good, but not flab.
The mystery of the identity of the real Rajveer is exhaustingly delayed, so much so that the viewer loses interest by the time the director decides to reveal his plan. The director also needs to be reminded that members of the audience aren’t inspired by Ghajini and don’t need reminders of what happened 15 minutes earlier.
Diljit continues to charm and warm with his ready wit, while veterans Kharbanda, Nishan and Ahluwalia’s characters are lovable. Music is peppy and choreography groovy. If you refuse to let the story get the better of you, perhaps you can spare some money and time at a nearby theatre. That is of course, unless you have better things to do.