Film: “Baaraat Company”; Director: Syed Ahmad Afzal; Cast: Sandeepa Dhar, Anurita Jha, Ranveer Kumar, Vishal Karwal, Rohit Bhatnagar and Nasser Abdullah, Rating: **
Set in Lucknow, director Syed Ahmad Afzal’s “Baaraat Company” is a romantic comedy that centres around weddings, albeit with a difference. It is essentially an insight into the changing society where traditional arranged marriages are fast dwindling.
Imaan Singh aka Immu and his grandfather run a family business of undertaking and executing weddings in Lucknow’s ‘shaadi gali’, but are lamenting their failing income as more and more couples elope and get married in courts.
To counter this, Immu (Ranveer Kumar) and his gang, comprising Diljala (Kumar Saurabh), who nurses a broken heart and is thus against love, Jackson and Rani threaten and use strong-arm tactics to stop couples from love marriages and ensure that the weddings are carried out traditionally so that they can earn from the families.
A chance meeting with Mehek (Sandeepa Dhar), who is helping her friend Yasmin Mirza (Anurita Jha), a Muslim girl, elope and get married to her boyfriend Akaash Pandey, a Hindu, makes Immu have a change of heart and he embarks upon a mission of uniting couples in love.
Immersed in tacky lines and slapstick humour, the first half of the film drags, with the unconvincing bullying of couples by the Baaraat Company. The second half picks up some pace and is entertaining in parts, but is predictable and does not offer any interesting twists.
The subject had potential and if handled well, the film could have been a decent romantic comedy, but the writing film lacks freshness and depth. It does manage to inject humour in some scenes and elicits a few chuckles, but such instances are few and far between.
The direction seems a tad amateurish. The characters and situations are cliched and anticipated from word go, although the small town ethos and environment are captured to perfection.
Newcomer Ranveer Kumar is confident and tries hard, but appears a bit ungainly. He sorely lacks the charisma and screen presence of a hero. Sandeepa Dhar portrays Mehek with ease. It is her anglicised character, however, that is a bit incongruous with her Lucknawi milieu. Also, their on-screen chemistry fails to sizzle.
Anurita Jha as Yasmin is a complete natural and performs competently. Vishal Karwal as SP Abhay, Mehek’s fiance and the quintessential good boy, is a bit too stiff and awkward, thus failing to leave an impression. The other actors perform well, especially the diminutive Kumar Saurabh who is strongly reminiscent of Rajpal Yadav, as well as the grandfather. Nasir Abdullah, the yesteryears model as Mehek’s father, is wasted. The actor playing Mehek’s younger sister is striking and attractive.
This low-budget film is replete with mediocre production values and lacks finesse.
The cinematography is worth mentioning, as the lens captures and showcases Lucknow beautifully. The music is nothing exceptional, although, “Belagaama” is soulful and fits into the context naturally.
Overall, “Baaraat Company” is a romantic comedy that lacks the polish of a well-made film but nevertheless entertains with its meagre wit.
By Troy Ribeiro