Love Shines in Sonam Kapoor’s ‘Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga’

Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga is a simple story about love that shines without making a grand statement!

Indian Cinema
3 min read

Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga

Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga

It’s a familiar setting – Punjab and its pulsating “pind” vibe. Women in their wedding finery, naach gaana, vyaah te baraati and to find a suitable “munda” for a shaadi ke laayak “kudi”. But screenwriter Gazhal Dhaliwal and writer-director Shelly Dhar Chopra take us on a path less travelled without much shor-sharabba and fanfare!

It’s long way away from the insensitivity and crassness of Dostana and similar movies which came with a generous dose of homophobia. Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga is a Bollywood film that talks of love in all its glorious complexity and the shackles that society binds it with.

Be it about nursing an impossible dream or to find love a second time or even to let desire be understood without any judgement on caste, class or gender. The subtext and message that comes across, isn’t forced, allowing us to get acclimatised to the intent and let the characters breathe.

Sonam Kapoor plays Sweety Chaudhry from Moga, Punjab. The first time Sweety comes out to Saahil, played by Rajkummar Rao, the latter’s reaction is the same as that of the audience watching the film. When Sweety’s brother looses his cool or her father appears hurt and angry after finding out his daughter’s truth, they aren’t unnecessarily loud or melodramatic.

They react like anybody would when confronted with a reality that challenges our inherent bias and hate, a result of our social conditioning. When Chhatro ji, a recently divorced woman played by always jolly Juhu Chawla, talks about how she told her grown up kids to marry whoever they like or not get married at all — as long as they are happy and for the right reasons — the truth so simply told, one wonders what took us so long to get here.

Love is simple and Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga doesn’t want to make a big deal of it by presenting it as a “mind-shattering” novel idea, to borrow Chhatro’s favourite and oft-repeated phrase. Its beauty and biggest win is that they present it just like it should be – as love should be – a natural attraction, an inexplicable pull, pure and raw. When they address notions like “bimari” ,“galati” ,“gunaah” ,“khandaan ki izzat”, it’s as relevant as it is interesting and heartwarming!

If only we were allowed to spend more time with the love birds to get a better understanding of how they negotiate their attraction towards each other, it would have felt more complete, but I guess the makers had a different vision.

The film benefits immensely from its cast’s nuanced performances. Rajkummar Rao is perfect and that shouldn’t come as a surprise. The fact that he never once tries to hog the limelight is a sign of a genuinely secure actor.

Anil Kapoor as a loving father who is at his wit’s end about how to deal with his daughter’s truth is pitch perfect. Sonam Kapoor is restrained as the unsure, apprehensive Sweety who doesn’t want to hurt her family and yet can’t surrender completely to their whims. Even the ensemble cast with Juhi Chawla, Brijendra Kala, Seema Pahwa, Abhishek Duhan and Madumalti Kapoor are terrific each time they come on screen.

Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga is a simple story about love that shines in its determined eagerness to not make a grand statement!

3.5 Quints out of 5!

A film that stays with you long after it’s over.

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