Running Shaadi is an odd film. For starters, each time characters say the film’s original name – Running Shaadi.com - it’s bleeped out. A popular matrimonial website initiated legal action against the title and last week, the courts ruled that the makers had to remove all references to Shaadi.com. So the film’s title was abruptly cleaved. Actually the title, both the original and the amputated version, is misleading. Because the film begins with the ingenious idea of a website for lovers who want to elope but this is soon abandoned. The action moves from Amritsar to Dalhousie to Patna and the narrative becomes increasingly convoluted – until we reach a scene in which three characters disguised in burkhas are spying on two other characters disguised in burkhas. The hero is set to marry a girl who loves someone else. He also loves someone else but he has introduced his girlfriend to his family as his best friend’s relative. There is general chaos, too many marriages and no signs of the website that triggered this entire harebrained plot.
Which is such a shame because the premise, constructed by director Amit Roy and writer Navjot Gulati, had potential. Running Shaadi starts out well. We meet Ram Bharose, a Bihari migrant in Amritsar who is besotted with his boss’s daughter, the feisty Nimmi. Nimmi isn’t afraid to follow her desires, even if they lead to the abortion clinic. Bharose, like his name suggests, is her silent lover and eternal support. When Bharose loses his job, he and his friend, Cyberjeet, decide to create a website that will help hapless lovers elope. Everything goes swimmingly until Nimmi decides to use their services.
Amit gets the small town milieu right. He also mines the inherent humor of small town India negotiating the new digital landscape - Bharose’s uncle in Bihar – the always reliable Brijendra Kala - advises him to start exchanging sweet Facebook messages with his would-be bride. But the fun soon leaks out and in the second half, Running Shaadi derails.
The leads – Amit Sadh and Taapsee Pannu – try to rescue the flailing script but there are too many holes to fill. The two share an easy camaraderie and with a better narrative, they might have created a sparkling romance.
Sadly, this one has too few laughs and not enough meat.