ujda chaman review

Maanvi Gagroo and Sunny Singh star in ‘Ujda Chaman.’ (photo provided)

MUMBAI — This film is so bad — easily among the three or four worst of the year so far — that we just want to communicate a few musings on it.

The story is of a 30 year-old young man, Chaman Kohli (Sunny Singh), who is almost bald. Obviously girls galore reject him. So does a fat young woman named Apsara (Maanvi Gagroo), but things happen and she begins to like and then love him.

But Mr. Hairless wants a true-blue Apsara (beauty from Heaven) and so, though their parents accept each other’s children as spouses for theirs, at the penultimate moment, Chaman (the name translates into a flower garden, with ‘Ujda’ meaning barren) does not want to go ahead with marriage. Misunderstandings follow until the happy ending.

First and foremost, I feel that every South Indian film or regional film does not necessarily lend itself to a pan-Indian remake. The quality of the original needs to be matched with the right changes if it has to be done.

Second, the transplant of the story from South to Punjab is just another excuse to give us another example of the Punjabi overdrive that is endemic today. Loud Punjabi characters spouting Hindi with accents, raucous and meaningless (for those not conversant with the lingo) songs, terribly intrusive background music and situations reveling in the overdone (in new Hindi films) Punjabi zone do not make for either funny or good movies, like recent calamities “Jhootha Kahin Ka” and “Arjun Patiala” have proved. And in this specific case, the “hair”-conditioning is not done at all for a good, intelligent and pan-Indian watch.

The gender equality, physically challenged clichés come so late and so ineffectively in a been-there-done-that manner that they do not make any impact.

Sunny Singh needs to be told that one fixed expression isn’t good acting. There is no Luv Ranjan or Akiv Ali here, just a mediocre director and script, to make him give a nice performance amid an ensemble cast. Maanvi Gagroo seems comfortable both in her body suit and uni-dimensional role, and attempts to salvage this disaster.

Karishma Sharma in the brief role of Aaina is good, as is Atul Kumar in the longer role of Chaman’s father. But Grusha Kapoor as Chaman’s mother is extremely irritating like in the worst Punjabi-ized performances of Kirron Kher and the likes.

This film is the ‘Hair today, gone tomorrow’ kind, and we suggest that if you like bald people on screen, watch the best of Anupam Kher’s, Amrish Puri’s or veteran David’s movies. And then there is no harm in watching Bala, the bald Akshay Kumar in last week’s “Housefull 4,” or waiting to see if the third bald man in three weeks, Ayushmann Khurrana in “Bala” is up to the mark.

Rating: *1/2

Produced by: Kumar Mangat Pathak & Abhishek Pathak

Directed by: Abhishek Pathak

Written by: Raj B. Shetty & Danish J. Singh

Music: Gourov-Roshin & Guru Randhawa

Starring: Maanvi Gagroo, Sunny Singh, Karishma Sharma, Aishwarya Sakhuja,

Saurabh Shukla, Atul Kumar, Grusha Kapoor, Gagan Arora, Sharib Hashmi & others

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