Director – Abhishek Pathak
Cast – Sunny Singh, Maanvi Gaagroo, Aishwarya Sakhuja, Atul Kumar, Grusha Kapoor
Ujda Chaman hardly had any buzz till around when its first poster released and the quirky theme registered. However, now that the film is out in theatres, it is clear it has bitten off more than it can chew. The film about receding hairline is bald in both its treatment and script, pun firmly intended.
An official remake of 2017 Kannada film Ondu Motteya Kathe, Ujda Chaman starring Sunny Singh is to be lauded for picking a real subject, but the film fritters away its advantages and gives us a half-baked product.
With premature balding as its subject, Ujda Chaman has its heart in the right place but never delves deep, happy to stay on the surface and revel in clichés. We blame the weak script.
Watch the Ujda Chaman trailer here
Here’s taking a stab at the story: 30-year-old Chaman Kohli (Sunny Singh) is a Hindi professor over weekdays and a prospective groom looking for suitable match over the weekends. He has not much luck doing either, with his semi-bald pate being responsible for the state of his affairs. To top it all, an astrologer predicts that if Chaman doesn’t get married within a year, a lifetime of celibacy awaits him. His parents do everything possible to get him married, but most of the matrimonial meetings end up as ridicule fests.
Chaman tries the non-arranged marriage routes too – from dating apps to flirting with female professors but all in vain. Finally, when he finds a girl, Apsara (Maanvi Gagroo) who loves him, he is not sure of her because of her weight issues. Whether Chaman will be able to rise above judging someone by their looks — something he himself has dealt with most of his life — forms the premise of the film.
Sunny Singh in a still from Ujda Chaman.
One of the major problems with Ujda Chaman is that it’s not outright funny, failing to do justice to the genre it’s trying hard to sell — comedy. There are some scenes and lines in the first half that will make you laugh especially the true-blue Punjabi flavour and accent from Rajouri Garden, a West Delhi locality where most affluent Punjabis reside. However, Ujda Chaman falls short of being a laugh riot as the jokes are uneven and spread thin.
The film makes you uncomfortable when it deals with body-shaming and makes it sound trivial. Just like the posters of the film normalized calling a man ‘takla’,
Maanvi’s Gagroo’s character is time and again addressed disparagingly as ‘bhains’, ‘moti’ etc.
Sunny Singh delivers a sincere performance.
The film ultimately force-feeds you the concept of inner beauty with a boring monologue in the climax after spending its entire length showing us romance of a balding man and an overweight woman. Why is the match ideal? They are both lacking in some way, according to the society’s unrealistic standards of physical beauty.
Performances are decent but easily forgettable. Their impact lasts only till the climax. Sunny Singh of Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety fame delivers a sincere performance, but is let down by his wooden and poker-faced expressions. This is the first film where Sunny doesn’t play the hero’s friend but a solo lead that is practically there in every frame and his character definitely needed more weight.
Maanvi Gagroo, on the other hand, shines as an overweight girl who is confident in her skin and gives two hoots about what the world thinks or says about her looks. She brings freshness to the screen and you wish the makers gave her a little more screen time. You only wish that her love story with Chaman, which was rushed up in the film, was handled with more grace. Considering her character is strong-headed in her approach, it’s tough to believe how easily she falls for a guy and agrees to marry him without really knowing him well.
Sunny Singh in a still from Ujda Chaman.
Atul Kumar and Grusha Kapoor as Chaman’s parents deliver some of the winning and hilarious moments. It won’t be an exaggeration to say that they are given the best lines to say on screen. For instance when a potential mom-in-law asks Chaman, ‘Beta aap kya karte hain’, his mom jumps in and says, ‘Yeh WhatsApp karta hai’. Or when during a conversation, Grusha says, ‘Main apne bête ke liye aisi bahu laungi ki Rajouri Garden ki rooh kaamp jaye’ to which Atul replies, ‘soch le, sochne par GST nahi lagta’, trigger soft humour. There are a plenty of mispronounced words — hair transplant as ‘hair plant’ or risky as ‘riksy’ and the struggle to utter tougher words like ‘testosterone and metabolism’ correctly in one go — intended to create funny moments and they succeed to some extent. Karishma Sharma and Aishwarya Sakhuja in extended cameos play their parts well despite characters not being properly fleshed out characters. Shukla is a wasted cameo to say the least. Chaman’s onscreen brother, Gagan Arora flaunts the West Delhi swag with much ease and has a charming screen presence.
Music of the film is nothing special but the loud background score is on-point with the song ‘Chand Nikla’ being played at the right moments. A Guru Randhawa special song in the end credits lights up the screen.
Overall, Ujda Chaman is an average film that is watchable for its subject but you wish it was made with slightly more focus and quirk so that it would have left an impact. It won’t be wrong to say that Ujda Chaman has the right intentions but fails to strike a chord with the audience.