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Luka Chuppi Is A Progressive Intelligent Comedy

Subhash K . Jha

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Luka Chuppi

Starring:  Kartik Aryan, Kriti Sanon &  A Stellar  Supporting Cast

Directed by: Laxman Utekar

Rating: ****(4 stars)

Just when  the smalltown comedy threatens to sag  under the weight of over-statement  there comes a  fresh feisty take  on  a live-in relationship in this  Progressive Comedy(not to be  confused with the Regressive Comedy as in  Total  Dhamaal)  .

Luka  Chuppi  doesn’t mind bending the rules  of the  rom-com genre as  long the tilt  doesn’t make the  script  look cross-eyed and waylaid.A sense  of  madcap  adventure is constantly  projected into the  narrative without  losing grip  over the grammar of growing giggles.

Luka Chuppi doesn’t try too hard  to generate  humour. It  doesn’t always  make  us  laugh. But it never fails to amuse, as Guddu and  Rashmi, two Mathura-based  tv journalists,  get hitched,  fall in love and decide  to  give  ‘live-in’  a chance before settling in permanently.

Egged on by  his best friend/sidekick Abbas(Aparshakti Khurrana bang-on with his  deadpan expressions)  the couple decides  to give live-in a try.The  adventures  thereafter are not  as smooth as , say Badhaai Ho where middlclass mores were projected with unflinching  accuracy. Luka  Chuppi sometimes goes awry  in its  search for  satire, but is not  the least fearful  of stumbling  .

Guddu wants to do “everything” that  live-in couples do. Rashmi  isn’t biting the  bait. But they do end  up in bed and soon she whispers  the   four magic  words, “Do we have  protection?”. Guddu  is  ready with  an assortment  of condoms. Pyar kiya toh dalna kya?

In breaking the wall that separates love and sex  in Hindi commercial cinema and in  showing the lead couple  with  healthy hormonal   instincts  Luka Chuppi raises  hopes for the Bollywood comedy where kissing is still seen  as  big deal, and audiences are  actually  said to count  the  number of times lips lock on screen.

 Come to think of  it , there are  no kisses  between  Kartik Aryan and  Kriti Sanon  in  this film. And yet they communicate  a warm easygoing  alliance  that  comes not from singing songs together but  from recognizing your life partner  for what she  is.

Most  of  the humour is generated organically and  without making  strenuous  efforts  to  induce  humour  into   social statement.

Make no mistake  about it. Luka  Chuppi  is  a comedy with  an underlying layer  of  dark satire and social statement  on  moral policing and communal biases  in small towns.  Director  Laxman  Utekar who  has done the  lucid  cinematography  in  Gauri Shinde’sEnglish Vinglish and  Dear Zindaagi, has a keen eye  for smalltown quirks.He gets the  mood right specially  in  the frequent aerial  shots  of  the  smalltown  rooftops. But  the  stellar  supporting cast  is frequently let down by  the  persistent  attempts  to make them seem chronically  hyper.Do these people have  to say or  do something all the time?

While  some amount of hue-and-cry is raised  over the vigilante treatment   of  romance  , the subtle  but sharp digs at  the Muslim character is  admirably  on target. The way the  Muslim  film star at the film’s prologue is treated  for espousing live-in relationships and  in the way characters  react when  the hero’s Muslim friend  is  introduced,  the  film tells us  we are a long way from  getting  away from  our biases.

But hey , in  the meanwhile there  is  the laughter. Probably not  the  best medicine.But it works in the  right  doses. Most importantly  Lukka Chupi works for the lead pair. KartikAryan  is  endearingly  guileless and eager  to score, while Kriti  Sanon  is  more worldly-wise and slightly annoying in her will to be the  dominant partner. Together the couple  is a scream.Albeit a stifled one.

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