Vidit Bhargava Shaandar is actually three stories rolled into one. A fairy tale, A Father-Daughter Bonding Story, and another which closely resembles in content to Dum Laga Ke Haisha and Dil Dhadakne Do. And this is Shaandar's biggest problem, There's just too much for Vikas Bahl to juggle with.
Shaandar begins by keeping the fairy tale about an insomniac rich kid who must be put to sleep, as goofy. The Father-Daughter bonding between the characters played by Alia Bhatt and Pankaj Kapoor is kept Subtle and the third story involving a fat girl being married off to save a dying business is intended to give a social message with humor. Something that's totally fine. Had the movie kept all the three stories with their governing emotions isolated, it probably might have proven to be decent watch. But with setting for the three being this far away from each other, it becomes increasingly hard for the director to make everything blend in, more importantly it becomes easily tough to isolate the emotions to their respective stories. So you end up getting a dash of childish goofiness, subtlety and attempts at well natured humor spilling everywhere. Almost as though a paint bucket would fall over a partially painted sketch.
Too many stories is just one of the many Problems in Shaandar. Shaandar's Screenplay is so patchy and shoddily written that you'd think the writers were half asleep while writing it. There are just too many randomly inserted crazy moments to make any sense of them: Like the intoxicating reaction that a pair of Mushrooms and Brownies have at the guests of a party, or the utterly random Paragliding instance between Pankaj and Shahid Kapoor. And then there's this flash back On Pankaj Kapoor's character. It's animated. Why!? You'd never know. What if I told these are the same writers that gave us Lootera and Queen?
To top that, the last thirty minutes are completely trash. Their straight out of Priyadarshan's movies from the late 2000s (Strong echoes of Malamaal Weekly). If the two hours were hard to make sense of, this is worse.
But to be Honest, Shaandar for all its flaws, works when the right setting is placed in the right story. So Shaandar is actually an enjoyable watch, in parts. There are few genuinely funny moments, then there's the Father-Daughter story that's been nicely done. And for a fairy tale's characters Alia Bhatt and Shahid Kapoor do a fine job.
If Shaandar works at all, it's because of its actors. Alia Bhatt, Shahid Kapoor and Pankaj Kapoor do their roles with effortless ease. Some of the best moments of the movie are provided when the three of them aren't surrounded by the loony support characters.
Shaandar could have been a decent movie, had it been clearer with what it wanted to do. Sadly what I saw yesterday wasn't even clear about its target audience. An ambitious effort, that works only in parts. Shaandar is barely watchable and that's pretty much because of the lead actors.
Rating : ** (There's little that's 'Shaandar' about it)