By Subhash K Jha, IANS
Once in while, a film makes you smile. Not because of what it strives to be. But for it sheer sassiness and temerity.
Going into the new-age movie mantra of urban relationships, PYAAR KE SIDE EFFECTS comes up with a winsome twosome, who loves some, lose some… and emerge out of the battle of the sexes healed and… quite wholesome!
Sid, that's Rahul Bose meets Trisha, a.k.a Mallika ‘The’ Sherawat, in extremely trying circumstances. She's trying to escape an undesirable marriage (to stuffed – shirt Jas Arora). He's trying… just trying. Being a deejay at 30 is like being a teenager at 40. Or, being Mallika Sherawat and attractive and sexy without taking your clothes off.
A bit bewildering but constantly engaging in its blizzard of bacchanalia (hats off to dialogue writer Victor Acharya for words that ring true and still sound like catch lines on the bumper sticker of sports car) PYAAR KE SIDE EFFECTS is possibly that one romantic comedy in Hindi which could equal Hollywood's Harry-meets-Sally formula portraying the man-sharp-woman-sharper gender skirmish.
Debutant director Saket Chaudhary sees the battles of the sexes entirely from the male viewpoint. Whether it's Sid with Trisha, or Sid's brother-in-law (Aamir Bashir) struggling to keep his moody wife from swooping down on him at the smallest pretext… this slick flick knows the grope - trick of keeping relationships afloat in today's times of stress and competitiveness.
Some of the sequences, designed to elicit laughter, get there bang-on. It's been a while since a romantic liaison got you giggling, and not just because the repartees are so sassy but because the love pair in so endearing in their state of despair.
Check out the fluster and bluster of Sid's first lovemaking sequence when she leaves him in a state of cute coitus interruptus… or that hilarious narration by Sid's brother-in-law where the poor guy tells Sid about his spousal fight the night before. Like Sujoy Ghosh's JHANKAR BEATS (a film to which PYAAR KE SIDE EFFECTS bears a moody resemblance) the narrative weaves in and out of suburban mores without getting judgmental about the people who move in and out of relationships, knowing shit on why they got into it or out of it.
Sid's encounter with his fiancee's tyrannical father (Sharat Saxena) may outwardly remind you of MEET THE PARENTS. But seen within the larger picture Saket Choudhary has scripted an urban legend that is slave to no ready reference point.
The narrative is maneuvered by a vivacious impulse, navigating the destiny of the central couple's affair through a series of funny and intelligent encounters.
Finally the effectuality of the romantic comedy depends on the chemistry between the lead pair. The tried-and-tested Rahul Bose re-invents his considerable comic talents to play a man more cornered than conned by love. Sid would rather watch a cricket match than discuss love with his girlfriend. But shhhhh!
Rahul Bose is delectably in tune with his character's befuddlement, often capturing the game-show spirit of the man-woman battle with an intuitive insouciance.
Mallika is a delightful surprise. Fully clothed (thank GOD!) she's a temptress and a virgin, a tease and an ingénue all at once. Where was this side of the voluptuous actress hidden so far?
The supporting cast specially Ranveer Shorey as the underwear-challenged slob adds considerably to the fluid charm of the central romance.
Manoj Soni's camera lets the lovers be on Omang Kumar's ritzy but credible sets. Editor Hemal Kothari cuts into the guffaws with a tongue-in-cheek flourish. Specially diverting and effective is Rahul's constant talking into the camera, a Brechtian device recently used by Akshaye Khanna in AAP KI KHATIR. Has Bollywood discovered Brecht as its butter?
Or are we reading too much into the psychobabble of a man who needs to share his fears about the fair sex with us?