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Ek Ladki ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga: mainstream cinema’s subtle indie road

Sweety describes her life as if she is writing a DDLJ script. “I have realised I will have to be alone throughout my life,” she tells us, “either we will run away together or I’ll end the torture with my life.”  Running away from her brother she bumps into a theatre rehearsal and turns critic within minutes of attending it. “There are no love stories without siyappa”, she tells Sahil (Rajkumar Rao), writer of the play and with this director (Shelly Chopra Dhar) gives you a straight pitch of what will follow- a love story with  siyappa and agony. Sahil draws inspiration from this conversation and assumes this is their story and he will have to go through all the drama to make it work. But wouldn’t this make it another DDLJ only difference being Sweety running to Sahil with lush mustard fields as backdrops instead Simran to Raj? Enters “X”, in love with Sweety and this is their story. A story of how an unconventional love, defying society standards, blooms. 

 LGBT relationships are often ridiculed and curtailed by the society but Ek Ladki ko Dekha embraces this subject in a soothing way and handles it with maturity. The script touches upon different verticals from the peer acceptance to coming out to parents to the emotional and mental turbulence. Shelly Dhar first makes you comfortable with the surroundings and character playfulness and then each deliverable is progressed. The cast here is a well assembled one and everyone does justice to their respective roles. Its a delight to see Juhi Chawla on screen after a long time and her exuberant performance reminds you of “Ishq”. Anil Kapoor takes a leaf of “Fanney Khan”, flawless in taut role of a father caught between the social standards and love for family. Rajkumar Rao plays all the right notes here but Sonam Kapoor lacks the character depth which will make you believe the agony in her life. Her discomfiture is evident when the script demands moments of silence, reflection and sadness. 

Ek Ladki ko Dekha sails smoothly in a turbulent ocean and one begins to wonder: Does it have to play this safe to make audience understand lesbian relationships? The commercial cinema rules are heavy here: the script touches upon a strong subject but has a subtle approach to it resulting in it being a mere starter’s guide to gay community. Honestly, there is not much siyappa  involved and “All is Well” road is taken too soon by the director. It tells a story which needs to be told, it addresses the issues that need attention but on its own terms and If you are willing to agree, it’s a go this week. 

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