By Subhash K. Jha, Indo-Asian News Service
Film: "Pyaar Ke Side Effects"; Starring: Rahul Bose, Mallika Sherawat, Ranveer Shorey; Director: Saket Chaudhary; Rating: ** 1/2
Once in a while, a film makes you smile. Not because of what it strives to be. But for its sheer sassiness and temerity.
Going into the new-age movie mantra of urban relationships, "Pyaar Ke Side Effects" (PKSE) comes up with a winsome twosome who love some, lose some...and emerge from the battle of the sexes healed and....quite wholesome!
Sid, that's Rahul Bose, meets Trisha aka Mallika Sherawat, in extremely trying circumstances. She's trying to escape an undesirable marriage (to a stuffed shirt played by Jas Arora). Sid is trying...just trying. Being a DJ at 30 is like being a teenager at 40.
A bit bewildering yet constantly engaging in its blizzard of bacchanalia thanks to dialogue writer Victor Acharya for words that ring true and still sound like catch lines on the bumper sticker of sports car. "PKSE" is possibly that one Hindi romantic comedy, which could equal Hollywood's 'Harry-meets-Sally' formula portraying the man-sharp-woman-sharper gender skirmish.
Debutant director Saket Chaudhary sees the battle of the sexes entirely from the male viewpoint. Whether it's Sid with Trisha, or Sid's brother-in-law (Aamir Bashir) struggling to keep his moody wife from swooping down on him at the smallest pretext, this slick flick knows the rope-trick of keeping relationships afloat in today's times of stress and competitiveness.
Some of the sequences, designed to elicit laughter, get there bang-on. It's been a while since a romantic liaison got you giggling, and not just because the repartees are so sassy but because the love pair is so endearing in their state of despair.
Check out the fluster and bluster of Sid's first love-making sequence when she leaves him in a state of cute coitus interruptus...or that hilarious narration by Sid's brother-in-law where the poor guy tells Sid about his spousal fight the night before.
Like Sujoy Ghosh's "Jhankar Beats", a film to which "PKSE" bears a moody resemblance, the narrative weaves in and out of suburban mores without getting judgemental about the people who move in and out of relationships, not knowing why they got into it or out of it.
Sid's encounter with his fiancée's tyrannical father (Sharat Saxena) may outwardly remind you of "Meet The Parents". But seen within the larger picture, Saket Choudhary has scripted an urban legend that is slave to no ready reference point.
The narrative is manoeuvred by a vivacious impulse, navigating the destiny of the central couple's affair through a series of funny and intelligent encounters.
Finally the effectuality of the romantic comedy depends on the chemistry between the lead pair. The tried-and-tested Rahul Bose re-invents his considerable comic talents to play a man more cornered than conned by love. Sid would rather watch a cricket match than discuss love with his girlfriend. But shhhhh!
Rahul Bose is delectably in tune with his character's befuddlement, often capturing the game-show spirit of the man-woman battle with an intuitive insouciance.
Mallika is a delightful surprise. Fully clothed (thank god!), she's a temptress and a virgin, a tease and an ingénue all at once. Where was this side of the actress hidden so far?
The supporting cast, especially Ranveer Shorey, adds considerably to the fluid charm of the central romance.
Manoj Soni's camera lets the lovers be on Omang Kumar's ritzy but credible sets. Editor Hemal Kothari cuts into the guffaws with a tongue-in-cheek flourish. Specially effective is Rahul's constant talking into the camera, a Brechtian device recently used by Akshaye Khanna in "Aap Ki Khatir". Has Bollywood rediscovered Brecht?
Or are we reading too much into the psycho-babble of a man who needs to share his fears about the fair sex with us?
Bollywood.com Rating: 2