Movie Review: Luka Chuppi- Reviewed by Devesh Sharma- filmfare

Guddu Shukla (Kartik Aaryan) works as a news reporter cum anchor for a cable news channel in Mathura along with his friend Abbas (Aparshakti Khurana), who is his the cameraman. Rashmi Trivedi  (Kriti Sanon) is the daughter of a political head honcho (Vinay Pathak), whose party indulges in moral policing and is staunchly against girls and boys indulging in love before marriage. The concept of live-in relationship in anathema for him. Rashmi, who has done Mass Comm from Delhi is a forward thinking individual. She joins Guddu’s channel as an intern and love soon blossoms between them. He wants to marry her but she wants to test the waters first and suggests a live-in relationship. An month-long assignment to Gwalior makes that possible. She puts some sindoor, wears a fake mangalsutra and both pretend to be newlyweds. However, the ever suspicious neighbours, as well as Babulal (Pankaj Tripathy) the brother-in-law of his elder brother, threaten to upset the apple cart. They keep on lying to all and sundry, which ends in them being accepted as a married couple by both sets of families. However, conscience finally bites them and they want to get married for real. Their plans to do so are foiled again and again due to circumstances, leading to one hilarious situation after the other.

Director Laxman Utekar and writer Rohan Shankar have kept things simple for this one-line plot. They include as many situational gags as possible but do throw in some social messages as well. The makers have inverted the formula in the sense that Kartik and Kriti don’t feel any pangs living together on their own but feel guilty when the family gets involved. There is no major conflict between the lovers as they agree on almost everything. Kartik’s family is seen progressive enough to encourage their bahu to continue working and not sit at home. However, since it’s a comedy, this is in contrast with their behaviour towards their elder daughter-in-law, who is expected to be a homemaker. There is a underlying hint about the marginalisation of Muslims as well. In fact, one of the most powerful lines in the film is uttered by Aparshakti, who says he’s just a Muslim and not some alien belonging to another planet. Kriti’s father is shown to be a shrewd politician who is shown to change tracks when he learns that being progressive might win him more votes. He does have a genuine change of heart later, where he asks his ghunghat clad wife to not cover her face — perhaps for the first time in her married life. It’s little insights like these which use humour to offer social commentary, that elevate the film. But by and large it’s a non-preachy commercial vehicle designed to entertain. More than anything else, it’s the witty dialogue which garners the maximum laughs. The use of old songs to highlight the situation is a clever device as well.

One would have loved to see more of Pankaj Tripathy, as he’s a hoot as a man obsessed with sex. He majorly ad-libs his way through one corny situation after another without ever crossing the lines of decency. The rest of the supporting cast, be it Atul Srivastava as Guddu’s mild mannered father or Vinay Pathak as the dabang politician are on point as well. Kriti Sanon is spontaneous throughout and seems to be finding her feet in comedy, having a gala time of it all in the process. Kartik Aaryan displays wholesome charm and plays his part perfectly. Aparshakti instils the fun with minute shrugs and gestures and keeps it subtle but effective nonetheless..

Laxman Utekar, who has made Marathi films like Tapaal (2014) and Lalbaugchi Rani (2016) before, makes a confident debut in Hindi cinema. The film has been shot well in Mathura and Gwalior, which is incidentally Kartik’s hometown. Watch Luka Chuppi for a dose of some good, clean fun — much needed after all the heavy-duty stuff which has been going around in real life.

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