Title: Just Married
Director: Meghna Gulzar
Cinematography: Sachin Kumar
Actors: Fardeen Khan, Esha Deol, Mukul Dev, Sadia Siddiqui, Satish Shah, Kirron Kher, Eijaz Khan
Music: Pritam Chakraborty
Costume: Pooja Sarin, Theia Bomanbehram, Shaahid Aamir
What is most memorable about Just Married
is how awkward it is. The movie depicts the embarrassment and bewilderment that many newly married couples in India face with painful honesty. It explores how Abhay and Ritika, two strangers in an arranged marriage, try to work on building a relationship on their honeymoon in Ooty. During their honeymoon they meet other couples, in various stages of their relationship, each with their own stories and challenges to overcome. Over the course of the movie these couples become friends and help each other understand their relationships better. Unfortunately for Just Married
, Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd.
, which also released in 2007, had a similar concept and was a much better movie. Where Just Married
sometimes veers towards being unsubtle and preachy, Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd.
was more deftly executed. Just Married
is still worth a dekho
though for its sensitive portrayal of Abhay and Ritika's acute sense of anxiety, their uncertain expectations of each other, their attempts at trying to connect with each other, their misunderstandings and their frayed feelings.
The movie relies heavily on the audience being able to empathise with Abhay and Ritika, despite the blunders they sometimes make. Fardeen Khan and Esha Deol, neither of them particularly well known for their good acting, do surprisingly well here. Fardeen easily slips into the character of the accommodating, good humoured and honest Abhay. When Abhay grows distant and defensive Fardeen does an equally adequate job of portraying why he feels hurt and confused. Abhay was always more at ease and relaxed than Ritika during their honeymoon but we are reminded that all this is as new to him as it is to her. Esha's depiction of the bride who is unsure about her marriage and is not ready to be physically intimate with her husband is sincere and sympathetic. Though Ritika was shown as a confident person before her marriage she feels uncertain and shy with Abhay because she doesn't know him well enough and feels anxious about the implicit expectations about what a honeymoon entails. Ritika's lack of communication about what she feels and thinks never gets annoying thanks to Esha's vulnerable performance. Her tense body language and the way she always tried to school her expressions were reminders enough about how awkward and out of place this middle class, sheltered girl feels now that she has to share a room, and her life, with a man who is practically a stranger to her.
Luckily, Just Married
does not reserve its brilliance for the main couple alone or we'd feel like we were walking on eggshells the entire time. Truth be told, Mukul Dev and Sadia Siddiqui's track was so lovely it deserved its own movie. As Kirron Kher's character observes at one point, "practice tou har shaadi mein lagti hai beta, bachpan se pehchaan ho tou bhi aur dono anjaan ho tab bhi
". Shohib and Ananya may not be complete strangers for each other but they don't seem to have much of an advantage over Abhay and Ritika. Shohib has a hard time adjusting to their new relationship because for him Ananya was always just his younger sister's friend who used to walk around in frocks and play with dolls. Ananya on the other hand has always been in love with Shohib but doesn't know how she can help him change his perception and see her in a new light. Their scenes were the highlight of the movie for me. Mukul Dev was endearing as the clueless Shohib who feels a bit at sea about how to treat Ananya now that they are married. Sadia was adorable as the cheeky Ananya who doesn't mind being the one who always has to take the first step in the relationship. The "bhai jaan
" scene, the anecdote about Shohib and Ananya's engagement and the cricket watching sequence (but really every scene they were in) are among my favourites from this movie. Another fun aspect of the movie was Satish Shah and Kirron Kher as the cantankerous old couple celebrating their 40 year anniversary.
The strength of Just Married
lies in its characterisation, especially of Abhay, Ritika, Shohib and Ananya. The pace of the movie is leisurely, its emotions innately genuine and its drama understated. The setting in Ooty is perfect as an other-world away from the real world, where the couples have space and scenery aplenty
to discover each other or celebrate their relationship. The cinematography and the music
complement the sometimes optimistic, sometimes muted tone of the movie. The only thing out of place was the climax - it felt jarring and a rude intrusion on the, thus far, realistic and very unfilmi
journey that we were on. If only the conclusion of the tale was as believable and mature as the rest of the story! Nevertheless, if you are after something mellow to watch on a cold winter afternoon you could do a lot worse than making yourself a hot cup of coffee, curling in a blanket, and popping this movie in your DVD Player.