Director: Kunal Deshmukh
Writers: Shreedhar Raghavan, Dheeraj Rattan, Pooja Ladha Surti
Cast: Sunny Kaushal, Radhika Madan, Mohit Raina, Diana Penty
Streaming on: Disney+ Hotstar
To give credit where it’s due, Shiddat is a work of total conviction. Saying this because the plot of the film might sound bizarre to some. A guy travels unspeakable distance to convince the girl he loves to marry him. The story takes place in contemporary times. That’s the factor that bothers the most. Do people still go the distance for their love in today’s times? To begin with, do people still love each other with that depth and passion which can come across as borderline foolish? Here, the guy Jaggi (Sunny Kaushal) falls for the girl Kartika (Radhika Madan) at the first sight. The meet-cute is age-old (first she hates him then starts liking him) but the writers give some freshness and boldness to the sequence.
Jaggi is a hockey player. Kartika is a swimmer. He helps her improve her timing and win the tournament. They hook up one night. Jaggi is in love with Kartika but she’s getting married in the next three months. She reasons that it will pass, and jokingly says if he feels this way for months to come then come to London where she will be getting married. One question. If the family is settled in the UK then what was Kartika doing in Amritsar?
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I was at a movie screening after months, so I decided to overlook that question and just enjoy the movie as much as I can. Anyway. Three years ago, Jaggi had crashed an engagement party with his friends where the fiancé Gautam (Mohit Raina) had left him inspired with his speech on love and his lady (Diana Penty). Cut to three years later, the men meet again. Jaggi is arrested in France while trying to get to the UK illegally. He’s handed over to Gautam who is a foreign affairs officer for India in France. Jaggi is going to be deported back to India but he is determined to travel to the UK. He tries to flee. Gautam tries to put some sense into Jaggi’s head by telling him how his love life has changed in these three years. Relationships need a lot of effort to sustain. But Jaggi is determined to meet Kartika by hook or crook. He is mad enough to attempt to swim the English Channel.
There’s a lot of drama in the plot. And if you’re willing to suspend your disbelief that someone is doing this nonsensical thing for what he believes is love, you might enjoy the film. The intent is genuine, there are no half-measures. Sunny Kaushal does remind you of his brother Vicky Kaushal, but gives his sincere best to the part. Radhika Madan is in her A-game. Her role is shorter than Kaushal’s but her absence is justified. Mohit Raina as Gautam is solid. The film is technically sound, particularly in cinematography, production design and editing which justifies its 2 hour 36 minute running time.
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You may find it difficult to believe in the film’s plot or be simply repulsed by it. But love is such a subjective matter. Nobody can articulate why we do what we do in love. The film concludes with some solid lines on this phenomenon. Love is different for every one of us. Shiddat is another take on it. Whether today’s romantic relationships have that level of Shiddat in them is debatable. But it would be great if they did. And it would be even better if we didn’t make our lives so difficult because of such a simple and natural feeling i.e. love. Shiddat streaming on Disney+ Hotstar is definitely worth a watch.