Director: Kunal Deshmukh
Cast: Radhika Madan, Sunny Kaushal, Diana Penty, Mohit Raina
Shiddat, streaming on Disney+Hotstar
Sometimes, in the pursuit of true love, a life time can be too little. We spend almost two-and-a-half hours with Jaggi (Sunny Kaushal), Kartika (Radhika Madan) Gautam (Mohit Raina) and Ira (Diana Penty), and it seems endless, simply because after a nice start, the film goes downhill shockingly rapidly. And it decides to stay there.
Jaggi is a happy-go-lucky hockey player for Punjab. He along with his friends gatecrashes a wedding reception where he gets inspired by Gautam’s philosophy of love of going to any lengths and decides to follow it. At the sports complex, he meets Kartika who is a swimmer. While the two initially don’t get along together, over a period of time both get attracted. While Kartika wins the swimming competition, Jaggi ends up getting heartbroken as he comes to know that the love of his life is getting married to someone else in the United Kingdom. Kartika leaves for London and Jaggi decides to go after her, break her wedding and spend life with her.
Great film romances have the power to make a cynical viewer believe and become so invested in the characters on screen as to yearn for their union. Shiddat somewhere does it but gets lost in its convoluted plot. The film would have still made the cut had director Kunal Deshmukh not stretched the plot beyond a point and not created a melodrama. He manages to exude a likeable chemistry between Sunny and Radhika – they look comfortable with each other even in the most awkward scenes.
There are some impractical situations that are really questionable. How do you justify the guy’s decision to swim through the English Channel between Paris and England to reach a girl? And why do filmmakers see the need to glorify stalking to the extent where the girl has no option but to say yes. A particular scene shows Jaggi posting Kartika’s picture on social media without her permission. In an act of revenge, she goes inside the boy’s locker room and takes their naked photographs. It may be funny for the writers and directors but this clearly is a case of eve teasing and abuse.
Sunny Kaushal gives himself into his role. It is a delight to see him on screen. Shiddat gives enough screen time to this fabulous actor to prove his mettle. Radhika blends into her role and gives a decent performance. But it is Mohit who is outstanding in the film. His aching performance beautifully translates on screen. Diana, in her limited screen time, makes her presence felt.
The fact that the film doesn’t lose its core message, that of love, is one of its few redeemable factors. Without giving away any spoilers, the climax leaves you with a big twist but unfortunately by that time, it becomes too late to bother about it. Despite its rousing moments, the film leaves you feeling unfulfilled.