Sunday, January 06, 2013

Shirin Farhad ki toh nikal padi

Ok, ok, I loved this movie because I am of a certain age. I just loved the idea of a love story for a "mature" audience. I am aware that the movie was not a "financial" success.

That said, it was also a pleasure to see Farah Khan, the famous choreographer, onscreen. Plus, I love Boman Irani. Every time I see him on screen in a new role, he blows my mind with how he inhabits his characters. Plus, he's a sweetie.

Shirin Farhad ki toh nikal padi is a love story about two unmarried, middle-aged Parsis who never found their true love. Farhad (Boman Irani) is a women's underwear salesman much to the chagrin of his family and friends, but he is a good salesman and he loves his job. While he can sell women's undergarments, he is unable to sell himself to women. He is gentle and shy and he lives with his mother and grandmother.

Shirin is the Secretary of the Parsi Trust which like a homeowners association has rules on what can and can not be done in Parsi buildings and apartments. An illegal water tank brings the two together but also separates them.

Shirin and Farhad first meet when Shirin goes to Tem Tem, the women's undergarment shop where Farhad works, to buy a gift. A humorous exchange sparks an interest in both. But, no contact information is exchanged.

They meet again later at a Parsi matrimonial social. You see, the ethnic Parsi community is shrinking due to a low marriage and birth rate, so they are doing everything they can to unite suitable Parsi singles. Farhad attends and at his turn to introduce himself states his situation in plain terms. Eyes roll and he is crossed off everyone's list. But, Shirin is there, too, and later they share a few congenial moments.

Enter the illegal water tank and mama. This movie has many delightful characters to illustrate the joys and frustrations of community and family life. Farhad's mother, Nargis, wants Farhad to meet a girl and marry. She lovingly but excessively meddles in everyone's life. When she receives a letter from the Parsi Trust about the removal of their illegal water tank, histrionics are on full display. Farhad is sent to tell the Trust Secretary a thing or two. Instead, he meets Shirin who is the Secretary and they go out for coffee and more dates follow.

Now, both Shirin and Farhad know they have found someone special. In comes the "I am in love" song and dance scenes which are delightful and funny. I must say for me the most joyous "I am in love" song and dance scene is Anil Kapoor in 1942. Who could forget him in his red pajamas as he awakes and rolls on the bed and dances around the room quoting poetry! Well, Boman Irani almost beat out Anil Kapoor with his enthusiastic, charming "I am in love" song and dance. He rolls on the floor. He jumps and sings as if he were playing a guitar like a rock star. He rolls on his bed and dances around his room enough to shake the house.

Then there's Farah Khan's "I am in love" song and dance scene. Farah has a great sense of humor. In her song and dance scene you see bits of dances she choreograhed for other movies. When she dances in the rain like Kajol in DDLJ and then closes the number with a sneeze, it's funny.

Enter disaster. Farhad brings Shirin home for dinner. Soon, Shirin is regaling the family with a story from her work about a woman who kept harassing her office about the removal of an illegal water tank. Shirin is not at a loss for derogatory words to describe this woman. As you can imagine, mama is not happy. She is so shocked, she looks like she is choking. Shirin then adds injury to insult by pounding on mama's back to try and help her. Unable to stop Shirin, Farhad watches in shock as he sees his dreams fall apart. Later, mama says to Farhad, it's either her or me. So, Farhad must hide the fact he continues to see Shirin.

After another date, Shirin invites Farhad home for coffee. Hmmm, Farhad has no idea what to expect, so with the encouragement of a co-worker, he believes this is his moment to be a man. The results of this misunderstanding will surprise you.

Later, you learn Shirin is caring for her father who is in a coma. I did wonder about this actor who had to lay still during several scenes.

As these two continue to date, there are more romantic song and dance routines that parody famous scenes from movies where Farah Khan was the choreographer. DDLJ and KKHH are a few of the movies referenced as Shirin and Farhad do their own take on the song and dance numbers.

Of course these dreams are disrupted by family dramas, surprises, and conflicts as familial relationships strain Shirin and Farhad's growing romance often testing their loyalties.

The ending is sentimental and sweet with more wedding song and dance numbers.

I love writing Bollywood reviews because of the research I need to do, not just about Bollywood and Indian movies, but often about topics that arise in the story or from the cast and crew.

In this movie, I found the main setting, a Parsi community, interesting. In short, Parsi history dates back thousands of years. Parsis follow the Zoroastrian (or Zarathushra) religion and originally lived in the Parsa province, in ancient Iran. They fled the country after it was taken over by Arabs. Parsis resettled in many countries but over time most lost their cultural identity, but a group of Parsis in India have managed to retain their community and cultural identity even though their population is shrinking.

Here's a link to an NPR article about the Indian Parsi community

Another topic to research at another time is how does an older movie, Shirin and Farhad, relate to this one?

Also, I found Farah Khan's comments that she would never act again because being onscreen was time-consuming and hard work, harder than being a choreographer, amusing.

Director: Bela Segal
Producers: Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Sunil Lulia
Writers: Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Vibhu Puri
Cinematography: Mahesh Aney
Cast: Farah Khan, Boman Irani, Kavin Dave, Kurush Deboo, Daisy Irani, Mahabanoo Mody-Kotwai, Shammi and more.

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