Director: Laxman Utekar
Luka Chuppi is a tiresome tale of a couple from Mathura, Guddu and Rashmi, who decide to experiment with a live-in relationship. They do this by pretending to be married. And all that can go wrong does.
The film has the ingredients to be an amiable comedy – the cultural clash between traditional families and modern youth, the sights and sounds of small-town India and Aparshakti Khurana and Pankaj Tripathi, both veterans of this space, in key roles. In the last few years, Tripathi has become shorthand for quality. So I knew we were in trouble when I saw him reduced to a buffoonish sidekick wearing outlandish clothes. An actor who needs a single scene to make an impact – remember Masaan – is scrambling because he doesn’t get one good line. Instead, he wears red and yellow pants.
The writing by Rohan Shankar is consistently feeble. Scenes are stretched endlessly and the humour is limp. The comic flourishes are underlined by annoyingly loud background music, which cues us to laugh but so little of Luka Chuppi is actually funny. Aparshakti, as Guddu’s poker-faced friend Abbas, gets a few good lines. I also enjoyed the warmth and wisdom of Alka Amin who plays the Guddu’s bewildered but supportive mom. But there just isn’t enough spark in the writing.
Which is also the issue with the leads – Kartik Aaryan and Kriti Sanon. Both are attractive and sincere. The script gives them a role reversal – so Rashmi is the dominant, more rebellious partner who suggests that they live-in while Guddu is the shy and hesitant one. In a few scenes, Kartik manages to make Guddu’s turmoil somewhat endearing. But neither is dazzling enough to camouflage the lazy writing.
Director Laxman Utekar also ambitiously attempts to tack on a social angle. At the end, Guddu and Rashmi make some pertinent points about India being a young country and what the youth want – not moral policing and division but development and advancement. Which is a laudable sentiment but it feels tacked on rather than organic to the film.
Lukka Chuppi features five remixes which is a sign of the larger issue with the film – there just isn’t enough freshness or flair here. I’m going with two stars.