The ‘SIDE EFFECTS’ of not having 3 dimentional characters.
Why is it that when I try to remember the character’s names from Shaadi Ke Side Effects I need to search on google but I can tell you character names from Dil Chahta Hai, Lagaan, Sholay, Rang De Basanti, DDLJ, KKHH even in my sleep? Because to me the characters from SKSE had no real dimension.
What is the cornerstone of any good romance? Or any engaging story for that matter?
That the characters are not like cardboard cut-outs and that they have some chemistry.
Sid wants to release an album but we don’t once feel what he feels about his music, about releasing it, any sort of angst for it, any drive, passion for it. He has become a father but not once do we really go into him as a human being and get to know what he has begun to feel for his daughter. Even the little child, Milli is a flat character. There is no equation at all between the father and daughter. Take Kuch Kuch Hota hai, TZP or any good film with kids and you realize that within ten minutes of seeing the parent and child interact you know what their equation is about. 3 hours into SKSE I had no real inkling of what Farhan’s character felt for his daughter or what their equation was.
This was such rich material for a writer to get into in terms of making us feel through Farhan’s character what a father begins to feel after having a child, after beginning to see that baby grow under his very nose. The film left out all this rich material and went for surface level gags and humor instead. Who says you can’t make a deep film and still have it remain a comedy? Munnabhai, Three men and a baby, Groundhog day for example, keep it comic but still keep it deep.
Farhan and Vidya being good actors and being amiable personalities on screen was all that a viewer was left with to hold on to in this film. Besides Farhan’s chemistry with the child I couldn’t even really begin to feel strongly for Vidya’s chemistry with Farhan or with her child. What exactly does she feel about becoming a mom? I had no clue. What exactly did she fall in love with in Farhan, what exactly is their equation, I had no clue. The chemistry of the actors worked but the characters’ chemistry was non existent leaving us again holding on merely to their on screen personas to keep us engaged. Vidya Balan’s Trisha ended up being a one-dimensional character who is only rude, mean, harsh, insensitive to her husband thus stereotyping all new mothers and motherhood. Couldn’t we once have seen her also understand her husband’s point of view? Could the husband not once really feel for his child amidst trying to salvage his supposedly ending freedom?
The humor in the first half kept one engaged but again, you can’t pull of a 3 hour film using stereotypes as characters and clichés for humor. Both characters must go beyond being just a stereotypical representation of their kind. Yes Farhan represents the male who’s suddenly become a father and is trying to hold on to his freedom, but beyond that what? Who is he specifically? What does he feel about his child? His wife? This new role?, Other than merely fighting tooth and nail for his freedom.
With regards to Vidya’s character Trisha, I’m sure she can be more than just a representation of irritable new mothers. To me my biggest disappointment as a viewer with Shaadi Ke Side Effects was that I couldn’t feel anything for the characters. Yes I could at times feel for their situations but soon enough those too became just stereotypes and clichés and the story soon had no rails to run on and began to rely on random incidents like the neighbor, Vir Das’s character etc. to have something to march on with.
If only the writing had taken us deeper into the characters and the story had a stronger, clearer premise, this was such a rich and endowed world for a writer. We could have a much more engaging, satisfying film.
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