Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi
Direction: Bela Bhansali Sehgal
Actors: Boman Irani, Farah Khan, Kavin Dave, Shammi, Kurush Deboo, Daisy Irani
Bollywood traditionally doesn’t pay attention to the love stories of forty-plus men – unless their last name is Khan and the actress is at least twenty years younger. So we should give a round of applause to debutant director Bela Bhansali Sehgal for creating a middle-aged love story. Sadly, the good intentions are marred by a weak screenplay and limp execution. Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi is a sweet but slight love story that is stretched so much that by the end, we no longer care if Shirin and Farhad live happily ever after or not.
Farhad, played by Boman Irani, is a 45 year-old undergarment salesman who still lives with his mother and grandmother — he very sweetly describes them as ‘over-loving.’ His mother, played by Daisy Irani, nags him to eat, drive slowly and of course get married. Echoing her, his extended family helpfully asks: Tera rocket kab udega? Shirin, played by Farah Khan, is a feisty singleton who lives with her comatose father and aunt.
The first hour is bumpy but fun. Farhad’s bachelor plight, his longing for Shirin (whose bra size he identifies as soon as she walks into the shop) and their hesitant courtship is charming.
But then the screenplay, co-written by director Sanjay Leela Bhansali, nose-dives. The plot doesn’t thicken, it curdles. There are too many forgettable songs, including one in which Shirin and Farhad parody iconic songs from Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Hum Aapke Hai Koun…! The comedy becomes more slapstick and shrill. I was distracted by Farah Khan’s awkward performance. She’s perfectly cast but the A-list director simply isn’t an actor. For most of the film, she seems too hesitant and self-conscious.
Boman’s heart-felt performance lifts the film to some extent. He gives Farhad dignity. You feel for him, even when he’s selling fluorescent green underwear. Clearly Bela has great affection for her characters. I just wish she had given them a better plot to play in.