What happens in a relationship when the dust that is infatuation settles? That's the question that director Shaad Ali poses in his directorial debut, and, while I can say that it doesn't quite have the same sense of style that his later movies possess, he does attempt to give us a story that is grounded in reality. Ali's intent was to show us a slightly different take on what happens in relationships after shaadi, and I suppose he succeeds at some level.

We are introduced to two fresh faced collegiates, Aditya (Vivek Oberoi) and Suhani (Rani Mukherji). The two have a chance meeting on a train and, through a series of flashbacks, thus begins their story. Aditya is instantly smitten, following her this way, that way, almost in stalker-like proportions. Finally Suhani tells him that they can not be together - she's not interested in being in love, after all, she's a modern girl whose studies to be a doctor are much more important. Aditya is distraught. What will he do without the love of his life? Even Suhani's didi, Dina, wonders why the couple have broken up. Huh? Wait, I'm confused, were they even dating? Well, apparently their feelings ran much more deeper than I realized, because before we know it the two have secretly wed, much to the disapproval of both families once this privileged information is made known.

So, married life as adults takes over. With a roof successfully over their head, the two begin to realize that maybe this whole marriage thing isn't as full of sunshine and rainbows as they thought it would be. Let the bickering begin. Suhani even keeps a calendar, Xing off every day that they fight - is there some reason for keeping track? Maybe she planned on using all those giant X's to bargain for something later on - a giant piece of jewelry perhaps? I think I'll start my own calendar today! At any rate, if the only issues that Ali attempted to tackle were the little day to day things, I may have lost faith in his purpose. At least we see the start something else, like infidelity, creep into the picture, even if it's not fully explored. Now that's the stuff that really tests a marriage.

Throughout all of this we go back and forth from the couple's trials and tribulations to present day, where Aditya is searching for a missing Suhani. I have to admit, the little addition of suspense is really what kept me interested in this film. While I found the transitions between the past and present kind of irritating, I was extremely surprised when the two stories joined, culminating in one shocker of a climax. Also, to my utter surprise and delight, enter Shah Rukh Khan in a wonderful, albeit nearly pointless, cameo. I don't care if his presence did nothing to move the story along, it sure made my night! (Oh, and Tabu was there too.)

Besides, Shah Rukh, there were others in this film - believe it or not. Rani - sweet, cute, feisty Rani - what can I say. She delivers a solid performance as the smart, proud and beautiful Suhani. At least in this film, as opposed to something like Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, she's given some real substance, and you truly end up rooting for her in the end.

This was my first Vivek Oberoi film. While I wouldn't say I was swept off my feet, he was quite convincing as Aditya, the young, brash, immature, but essentially good-hearted, upper-middle class boy. Even though Aditya is callow, even silly at times, you see his passion; despite his posturing, you glimpse his insecurities and vulnerability. Behind his shaggy 'do, Oberoi pays adequate homage to his character.

When I saw the words AR Rahman light up the screen during opening credits I was so excited to hear what musical treats we were in store for me this time around. I have to say, although I've heard nothing but good things about the soundtrack, it failed to leave a lasting impression on me. Of the albums songs, Aye Udi Udi and Chori Pe Chori are probably the catchiest, but I remember them more for the picturizations rather than the music. In Aye Udi Udi we see a newly married couple during the honeymoon stage complete with a healthy (and racy!) fantasy life -though I didn't quite understand the need for the weird backward filmed hair flips and such. During Chori Pe Chori we get to see the mature side of said newly married husband as he brazenly flirts with Shamita Shetty in an effort to get back at his wife for leaving the toothpaste cap off.

So, hats off to Shaad Ali for his attempt at taking a more contemporary look at marriage, though I think had he explored venues such as the sacrifices that are required to make a marriage work, rather than just the little surface issues, he would have ended up with a much more compelling film.

12 Response to "Saathiya"

  1. bollyviewer says:
    July 10, 2009 at 1:04 PM

    Shah Rukh Khan in a wonderful, albeit nearly pointless, cameo - that is the only part of the film that I remember well! I saw this and SRK-Rani's Chalte Chalte around the same time and always confuse the two - they both have such similar stories and such obnoxious hubbies!

  2. shell says:
    July 10, 2009 at 2:00 PM

    I think that, months from now, Shah Rukh will probably also be the only part I remember.

    Chalte Chalte was only the 3rd movie I saw, I need to rewatch it. I can see similarities though between the two characters.

  3. Anonymous Says:
    July 10, 2009 at 10:55 PM

    The original tamil version by Mani Ratnam "Alai Payudhey" was much better with Shalini and Madhavan. The songs in the original tamil were also superb.

  4. shell says:
    July 10, 2009 at 11:26 PM

    I've heard that this was a remake. Might have to check out the songs. Thanks for dropping by!

  5. bollywooddeewana says:
    July 11, 2009 at 4:03 AM

    This was in my line of films to review, there was so much fuss made about it, which i failed to see, what was the rush for them to get married? For me, the outstanding thing was the music and even though Vivek and Rani were suitable in their roles, this movie is just average. I would love to see the original tamil version, as i've heard it's miles better than this

  6. shell says:
    July 11, 2009 at 7:21 AM

    I agree. It certainly wasn't the worst movie I've seen, but it was far from the best. As for the quickie marriage, I suppose it does happen sometimes in real life like that, though I didn't agree with them keeping it a secret. But then we wouldn't have had the family drama. I'd be interested to see Alai Payudhey just for the comparisons.

  7. ajnabi says:
    July 12, 2009 at 2:22 PM

    ROTFLOL "Oh, and Tabu was there too." Written like a true Khancult adherent! I didn't really care for this one either. However, I thought the music was awesome, and that made it less than a total loss for me.

  8. shell says:
    July 12, 2009 at 5:49 PM

    @ ajnabi - I'm so glad someone picked that one up! ... and I've just realized I'm pigeon holed.

    I liked the music while I was watching, but not enough to put any of it on my ipod.

  9. Jules says:
    July 13, 2009 at 3:23 PM

    I definitely think the film was worthwhile... but had there been much more passion in the bickering and in the making up bitties, it would have been way more intriguing and emotive.

    Loved SRK's pointless encounter with this film... but loved your reaction even more when he first unexpectedly came onscreen!

  10. shell says:
    July 13, 2009 at 10:37 PM

    Yes, I agree. I didn't feel that much of a connection with them at all, maybe that would have helped.

    lol - my reaction. It's always a nice surprise when you're not expecting it!

  11. theBollywoodFan says:
    July 14, 2009 at 8:45 AM

    I agree with your thoughts on the Saathiya soundtrack. Rahman has delivered waaaay better music, hasn't he? Yet, this one stands out. Perhaps for the choreography (doesn't that scene in the kitchen remind one of Aamir-Juhi in QSQT?) and production values? Most I have come across seem to remember it most for the lyrics, which are indeed splendid.

    I need to see the film again, don't remember much except the music (which might be the answer to my initial question.) There, so I'm starting to think out loud on blogs now, LOL...

  12. shell says:
    July 14, 2009 at 8:29 PM

    @ theBollywoodFan - ha ha! You can think out loud as much as you'd like. I don't mind - means I'm not alone! :)

    I think that if I had heard the music before the film, without seeing picturizations, it may have made a different impression on me.