Education – check. Career – check. Marriage becomes another check-box that we attempt to tick off. Some do it because they’ve already met ‘the one’, some look actively and some just wait for the cupid to strike. My mom often said that love can’t happen before marriage. Love is the outcome of a wholesome marriage. My late grandfather said that my generation tends to look at marriage as the end point of love, whereas it is only the beginning. My dad would tell me marriage is meant for the brave. My grandmother on the other hand would tell me that marriage is a matter of creating one destiny by combining two fates.
All these gems were showered on a 20-something me – a marriageable age for a Marathi girl. While they were sharing their generation’s take on arranged marriage with, my generation was being fed on the modern Indian fairy-tale (which sometimes turned out to be horror stories even). NRI boy meets Indian girl and she lives happily ever after as an H1b dependent. Love stories of an era where courtship had gone from coffee, dinners and walks in the park to Skype calls, emails and Facebook updates. And yet, the kundalis are matched, family’s gotras consulted, the caste confirmed.
Love seemed like Ajay Devgn in Phool Aur Kaante, riding two motorbikes – one of modern lifestyles, expectations and the other of traditional methods, conventions and customs. What if a kundali matches but love doesn’t happen? What if you fall in love but the kundalis are a disaster? Recently released Marathi film Lagna Karave Pahun, attempts to find answers to these questions. The film captures the confusion and the fears of a generation that is trying to make sense of the concept of marriage in a radically changed world.
Nishant Barve (Umesh Kamat) and Aditi Tilak (Mukta Barve) meet accidentally, at a coffee shop. Both at a turning point in their lives, they end up starting Shubhvivaah — a matchmaking service that eliminates the role of a kundali and focuses on the couples’ compatibility. Their opponent is a chunky jewelry laden, affluent Nalini Nallutai Dixit (Swati Chitnis) who’s built an empire out of matching kundalis and recommending gemstones and rituals. Nalini predicts a divorce for Shubhvivaah’s first success story, Rahul (Siddharth Chandekar) and Anandi (Tejashree Pradhan). It is up to Aditi and Nishant to make them last, while struggling to co-exist as business partners.
Clever writing, well-etched out characters, witty dialogue and brilliant performances make this film a fun watch. Those single, married, and in the ‘it’s-complicated’ zone will find something to relate to in the film. Mukta Barve portrays Aditi with a great depth while Umesh Kamat brings out a fiery Nishant while maintaining a certain tenderness with things concerning Aditi. Siddharth Chandekar has a short but a rather poignant role to play as a man who does everything he can to save his marriage, and he doesn’t disappoint.
The biggest strength of the film is the narrative, which could have easily gone down the melodrama path, but doesn’t. While many a Marathi filmmakers tend to indulge themselves by going wayward with characters and their tracks, director Ajay Naik exercises restraint as he dips into each character just enough to take the story further. Jaanta Ajaanta is a beautiful song, but it attempts to be Marathi industry’s answer to Suraj Hua Maddham. But the music is rather enjoyable.
Lagna Pahave Karun is a refreshing film that one must watch. And here’s hoping more and more such cinema comes our way, but for now go book your tickets.