Even if Ginny Weds Sunny were made in 2008 – back when “Delhi” movies with Bhangra sound cues and crowded frames and a song for every mood were a rage, back when Imtiaz Ali’s confused-lovers template was fresh, back when “modern” heroines spoke about sex at rishta meetings and cussed and smoked weed in Manali, back when all North Indian heroes were tacky but good-hearted losers, back when parents and single mothers became deceptively progressive, back when weddings were venues of music and life epiphanies, and back when the third wheel was a beta-male comic trope (“it hurts my regional feelings”) – this film would still be terribly basic.
The only thing remotely connecting Ginny Weds Sunny to 2020 is that one of its main characters (the girl’s mother) is a professional matchmaker. But the outdated vibe is so inherent to the film that it even manages to miss the Sima Taparia and Indian Matchmaking discourse by a few months. Even the remix of Mika’s Sawan Mein Lag Gayi Aag has a signature step that apes the one from the Simmba remix of Aankh Marey – you know, the one where humans misinterpret walking as cycling. It’s like watching an Inception of unoriginality. Badshah chimes in with a few lines too, but none of them feature the term “baby”. That’s a start.
The film opens with nice-boy-with-wiesel-hairdo, Sunny Sethi, cooking tandoori paneer at his father’s hardware shop. Sunny, an aspiring chef, wants his own restaurant. His father’s condition: Find a nice wife. Meanwhile, Ginny Juneja is busy driving away matches arranged by her mother. I feel like I’m 22 again while describing the premise, that’s how committed it is to a bygone era. Ginny is also in a “complicated” relationship with an ex, Nishant. Theirs is essentially a super-sanitized version of a toxic relationship. Instead of watching them having make-up and break-up and drunk sex, we see Nishant taking her on drives and promising to be “good friends”. So Sunny’s father then hires Ginny’s mother to find him a match, and she in turn decides that her own daughter is perfect for Sunny. So mother and future son-in-law (it’s not a spoiler, see the title?) conspire to design chance meetings and woo the confused Ginny. Ginny’s heart sprints in different directions. Naturally, their first date happens at a roadside dhaba decked in fairy lights because desi girls are just the best. Naturally, a gurdwara features in her sad backstory that explains her daddy issues.
Another problem with Ginny Weds Sunny is its obvious attempt to “subvert” old formulas. The makers insist that they are here to right all the regressive wrongs of rom-com Bollywood. So at one point, we see the pair’s parents delivering a sermon to themselves in a park – “we are older, we should be the wiser ones, yet we tricked our children?”. If that wasn’t enough, in another surreal scene, we see them half-submerged in a swimming pool, drunk at a wedding, voicing their faults and regretting all their mistakes for manipulating their kids. At another point in the end, Sunny and Ginny apologize to all the elders for being such flaky, indecisive and reckless youngsters. Both sides ask for empathy. This utopian world, where both generations are blessed with powers of self-reflection and moral-of-the-story monologues, is almost as cringey as the Haldiram and Manyavar product placements.
It’s strange to watch good actors trying to diversify their range by doing mainstream lead roles. It always reminds me of the moment Arjun Mathur’s purist theater-actor character in Luck By Chance vulnerably wonders if he should send his portfolio to big production houses. Vikrant Massey looks awkward as the crass Punjabi boy here, which is why perhaps the film allows him to be Vikrant Massey during the intense moments. From the scene-stealing Pari in Bala to the generic spunk of Ginny, it’s been a back-to-the-drawing-board sort of cycle for Yami Gautam. Among the others, it’s nice to see Ayesha Raza copyright that flawed-but-strong mother act, but her abilities far outreach the juvenile themes of Ginny Weds Sunny. Then again, we’re only a heartbeat away from a sequel named Ginny Beds Sunny.