Feature Name: Shaadisthan
Cast: Kirti Kulhari, Kay Kay Menon, Nivedita Bhattacharya, Rajan Modi
Directed By: Raj Singh Chaudhary
OTT: Disney+ Hotstar
Run Time: 90 minutes
Shaadisthan is a story about a touring rock group, led by vocalist Sasha (Kirti Kulhari), picks up an orthodox family of three, Sanjay (Rajan Modi), Kamla (Nivedita Bhattacharya) and their daughter, Arshi (Medha Shankar). They en route to Ajmer, Rajasthan, on the request of a common friend who’s younger brother is supposed to get engaged to a barely 18-year-old Arshi, against her wishes.
Sanjay (Rajan Modi) and Kamla Sharma (Nivedita Bhattacharya) from a small town in Rajasthan, along with their teenage daughter Arshi (Medha Shankar), are forced to travel to Ajmer for a family wedding with four young, rebel musicians Freddie (Apurva Dogra), Jigme (Shenpenn Khymsar), Imaad (Ajay Jayanthi), and Sasha (Kirti Kulhari).
Inside a camper van, their opposing philosophies meet, and they grudgingly begin to share portions of their normally separate lives. Women can do whatever the heck they want in Sasha’s universe. Sasha defines herself as a composer, musician, and free spirit. Arshi, on the other hand, is unable to talk and is on the verge of a nervous breakdown. As a result of her father’s plans to marry her.
Shaadisthan by Chaudhary is likewise on the duties of stay-at-home moms from India’s tiny communities. Kamla’s spirit has been broken because she has been ignored. It’s a testament to the film’s realism and Nivedita Bhattacharya’s sincere acting that you find yourself wondering: What kind of life did Kamla aspire to, this compassionate lady who ended up with a regressive boyfriend and little breathing room?
Kriti strips off the makeup and is embraced into the hippie group of young men to embody Sasha, the actress really roars as a woman. A scene where she schools Sanjay for calling their music “shor (noise)” is easily one of the best moments in the film.
Kirti Kulhari’s filmography is littered with female-driven narratives. Take, for example, Falak Ali in Pink, Inspector Dalbir Kaur Bagga in The Girl on the Train, Advocate Anjana Menon in Four More Shots Please. Her award-winning performance in Criminal Justice. The actor, however, truly roars as a woman when she removes her makeup and is accepted into the hippy gang of young guys who play Sasha. One of the finest scenes in the film is when she chastises Sanjay for referring to their music as “shor (noise).”
Sasha’s feminism, on the other hand, frequently comes out as entitled. She is educated, financially independent, and able to leave her family and go anytime and everywhere. But she is unaware that fighting established systemic sexism and patriarchy in the way she does is not simple.
Medha uses absolute honesty and sincerity to channel a teenager’s vulnerabilities and simmering frustrations. Acting as a catalyst for the family to address topics they’d prefer keep hidden. Apurva, Shenpenn, and Ajay, the men of Shaadisthan, deserve special attention for their outstanding efforts. Their friendship with Kirti appears to be quite natural and genuine. Rajan Modi has a fantastic performance as a harsh patriarchal father who, happily, has a change of heart in the end.
We give the film 3 stars. Shaadisthan is now available to watch on Disney+ Hotstar.