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Band Baaja Baaraat is a Bollywood (Hindi language) film released in 2010 starring Anushka Sharma and newcomer Ranveer Singh.
Shruti (Sharma) works as an assistant to a wedding planner and dreams of setting up her own wedding planning business. She meets the street-wise Bittoo at a wedding he has gate-crashed. Bittoo is from a village and is just finishing university, he is impressed by Shruti and when his father sends his uncle on a tractor to come home to run the farm, he advises his family that he's staying on in town to go in the business of wedding planning. He harasses Shruti to join forces with him to set up a business together and she eventually gives in but makes it clear she's ambitious and she doesn't want him to try to get together with her romantically as she doesn't believe is mixing business and pleasure. They set up "Shaadi Mubarak" and they start off organising small weddings and being rather successful at this they progress to larger more expensive ones. During a celebration of a very large and successful wedding Shruti gets a bit tipsy and ends up spending the night with Bittoo. The next morning she starts acting rather strangely around him, i.e. being very nice to him, which is totally out of character and he finds this alarming so basically tells her they should put their "mistake" behind them and get on with business. They end up being bitter towards each other and decide to go their separate ways in business but their chemistry in business is what made them successful so where do they go from here?
I had never heard of this film before watching it and had never seen any of the leads (or even the supporting actors) before. When I realised it was about a pair of wedding planners I wasn't much impressed about the idea but from the very first scenes I liked what I saw of Anushka Sharma and Ranveer Singh.
One wouldn't think watching a film about wedding planners would be fun. They only wedding planners I've experienced have been at friend's weddings and probably in more cases than not, my friends haven't exactly sung the praises of these people they've hired to supposedly make their wedding run more smoothly. In some cases people have advised me how expensive, bossy and arrogant wedding planners can be and having no personal experience of them I felt they were not a "breed" of people I would particularly like. Early on in Band Baaja Baaraat our leads work temporarily for a famous wedding planner who is all of the things I mentioned above. She cheats her clients, charging them for items she hasn't even organised and if she gets caught she blames members of her staff for messing up and acts like she's a spoilt princess. When she tries to blame Shruti for something, Bittoo stands up to her and takes Shruti away. Shruti insists that their business is going to be honest and professional, not charging clients for anything they can't or won't provide. They meet a lovely florist whilst working for the dishonest wedding planner and he being impressed by their fresh approach to wedding planning (i.e. being honest with their clients) decides he will work with them and introduces them to a friend of his who wants to get into catering. Together with Bittoo's roommate from college who plays in a band they are able to provide a good service to their clients and grow a successful business.
The fact that the leads sleep together and then fall out is done in a very natural way. Bittoo remembers what Shruti told him about not mixing business with pleasure so he tells her their night together was a mistake as he is scared he will lose her but it comes across to her as if they've had a one night stand and he wants to move on. She doesn't realise she would develop such strong feelings for him so to protect themselves from pain they act coldly towards each other which ends up running their business relationship which is the opposite effect of what they really wanted. Together they make a great team but separately their business flounder and both have growing debts. When a particularly rich client insists that he will only hire them if they work together as the original Shaadi Mubarak team; they have some tough decisions to make as they're still holding onto lots of resentment.
Anushka Sharma is rather cute and I was really impressed with her screen presence throughout the film. She wasn't trying to be sexy or glamorous but she comes across as a natural beauty. Her chemistry with her on screen partner was superb and I found Ranveer Singh in his debut role to be superb. He is definitely extremely good-looking but it wasn't just this that made him a joy to watch. His acting skills are pretty superb and he pulls off the role of street-wise but also vulnerable college graduate in an understated manner. I am looking forward to seeing him in more films and watching Sharma has made me want to look up other films she's appeared in too.
Kudos must be given to new director Maneesh Chopra too, this was his debut film and I think he'll do well if this feel good film is anything to go by. Weddings are a huge thing in India and people spend an absolute fortune on the actual wedding and the days or weeks leading up to it. I felt it was a clever idea to take a situation such as organising weddings and to show people just how much organisation goes into it all. From things like flower garlands and keeping the 1000s of flowers fresh and trying not to panic when it rains and your open air tents get soaked through, making sure the food is ready at the exact time to be served warm to the guests, etc. There were even scenes of collecting wedding guests from the airport and transporting them to where they would be staying for the wedding week. In India, weddings and celebrations around them can go on for 7 days or more, it's not all about the one day...
Watching this film has given me a degree of respect for wedding planners for the hard work they do as it does seem they work extremely hard for every penny they earn. I imagine decent wedding planners in India will become very famous and very much in demand as weddings are a really huge thing in India, rich people will spend a small fortune in making their son or daughter's wedding as lavish as possible.
Aseem Mishra must be mentioned for providing visually beautiful cinematography. As I said previously weddings in India are a really big thing and to set up all those superbly decorated venues for the film was no easy task. The colours all work really well together and most scenes were a visual delight.
The music by the Salim Sulaiman team was actually very good. I enjoyed listening to the songs throughout the movie and found them refreshingly different from the average Hindi film.
Overall Band Baaja Baaraat is worth a decent 4 out of 5 stars from me.
Starring: Anushka Sharma, Ranveer Singh, Manmeet Singh, Neeraj Sood, Revant Shergill
Director: Maneesh Sharma
Producer: Aditya Chopra
Cinematography: Aseem Mishra
DVD Release date: January 2011
Duration: 140 minutes