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Why Bother With Shimla Mirchi?



Shimla Mirchi

Starring Hema Malini,Rajkummar Rao, Rakul Preet Singh

Directed by Ramesh Sippy

Rating: **(2 stars)

 Rajkummar Rao never fights  shy of playing shy characters. There is  an innate diffidence  in his  personality that renders itself effectively to  characters who are afraid of expressing  themselves lest they get hurt.

This time it’s the audience that gets  hurt.Badly. Don’t get me  wrong. Five years  ago maverick moviemaking genius Ramesh Sippy  (he once upon a time made a small film called Sholay)  made a teekhi, tadka-wali  romantic film about  tender misalliances. It was  all about Raj falling for Rakul Preet Singh(her makeup, attitude all wrong) whose mom Hema Malini misreads  the love signals

Giggle giggle.

One fine day  in January 2020 the  producers  decided to  release the  damn thing  anyhow. Why would they do this disservice  to  three such talented  souls Sippy, Rao and  Hema Malini? That’s another  story altogether.

But what we see here is  an interesting tangle within  a triangle wherein  the characters  look hopelessly out of sync with today’s times. It is like  doing a disco to a tango beat. Even worse,  the  mythical Hema Malini is  completely  miscast as a skittish, coquettish  flirty Mom who wants marriage and probably  what follows thereafter(no one mentions sex  for women who are above  60 in  our films).

I would have  liked this  film far more if,say, Kirron Kher or  Lilette Dubey played the predatory matriarch. But the Dream Girl , the ultimate  unattainable beauty ,chasing a  dream  just didn’t make  any sense. Dammit, she has everything already. Why would she behave like Mrs Robinson in a gaudy saree?  It’s like the Helen Of Troy chasing Allauddin  Khilji.

If  you are really interested  in seeing a dignified  film  about a an older woman falling in love with a  young man , I recommend  Guru Dutt’s production Baharen Phir Bhi Ayengi  with Elder Sister  Mala Sinha falling in love with  her  kid-sister Tanuja’s boyfriend, played by Hema Malini’s real-life Significant Other Dharmendra.

Small world. Alas , as  the globe shrinks the  vision  of  Hindi filmmakers also shrinks.Shimla Mirchi could have  been a updated version of  The Graduate. Instead all it can do with its romantic misalliance is  giggle about it.

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