Somewhere while watching Shaadi Mubarak, a relationship comedy about an NRI landing in Hyderabad to look for a prospective bride, we get the sense that Sunnipenta Madhav (Sagar RK Naidu) is miffed with the commercialization of match-making by wedding consultants. As someone who has been exposed to the Western culture, can he bring to the table a mature idea of marriage and romance? No luck in this regard. But, despite its obvious shortcomings, this film is an entertaining rom-com laced with both situational and oddball wit.
Sathyabhama (Drushya Raghunath) is the daughter of a wedding consultant who has to make it easy for her mother’s client, Madhav, to reach the residences of the three prospective brides he is scheduled to meet for the day. They travel in a cab, wherein they end up revealing their naughtiness/cuteness factor to each other. It goes without saying that Mister Naughty and Miss Cutie find each other irresistibly lovable by the end of the evening.
This is a road film minus the usual ‘Life is best enjoyed away from the daily routine’ cliches. Sathyabhama is 27, but for all we know, she could well be just 17. It takes her all of a day’s outing with Madhav to develop a strong bond. This lack of convincing story-telling is glossed over by some elements that really try to inject large doses of fun. For example, she gets to booze her way out of dejection when she is on the verge of a breakdown. Usually, it is the male protagonist who gets such a song in our movies.
This brings us to how the first act is staged. Director Padmasri tells Shaadi Mubarak as Sathyabhama’s world. She has put up her profile on matrimony sites just to test whether men would find her desirable. We get a sketchy overview of the male lead’s family. But we get a more-than-adequate insight into Sathyabhama’s parents. Her father had a change of heart when he saw a husband wailing over his wife’s death. It’s scenes like these that deepen the film’s otherwise ordinary characters.
The film does have a few outdated tropes, but even they are narrated smartly. For example, Sathyabhama ends up wearing a saree that has an emotional value for her father. This is special because of how the story proceeds from here. Madhav has an engagement ring, which Sathyabhama accidentally ‘steals’. There is a charm to the way he reacts when he discovers that the ring is with Sathyabhama.
The film has its flaws, though. The mood of the conversations starts to seem repetitive after a point. The lead pair seem to fall in love just like that. It’s as if they are telling themselves, “Now that we have been arguing since the dawn, it’s time we start blushing and behaving like we are future lovers”. It looks somewhat contrived. But, even so, the theme of unexpressed love keeps the momentum intact.
Sunil Kashyap’s music drives the mood of the story forward, especially the song that reflects the inner churning of the lead pair.
For a film that appears like a self-conscious relationship drama, there are one too many clownish characters. Be it a college friend (comedian Bhadra) who spills the beans, the top cop (Ajay Ghosh) who is over-excited, the powerful man (Shatru) who jumps the gun like an unstable child, or a cabbie (Rahul Ramakrishna is accursed to showing irritation or what?) who is reduced to reaction shots, it’s all convenient.