It is difficult to go wrong with a movie that has Rajkummar Rao in it. 5 Weddings is one film that manages to tumble in a see saw motion, handling the naivety of Nargis Fakhri as an Indian-origin journalist from the US and the charm of a regular cop, Rajkummar Rao.
The film has some big names playing a variety of characters on the screen. Rao plays Officer Harbhajan Singh, Fakhri is Shania Dhaliwal and Bo Derek plays Mandy Singh Dhaliwal. Soha Ali Khan is also seen in the movie playing Sanjana Kishore Ghosh. There is Candy Clark in the mix too which adds to the Indian-American drama’s many layers.
5 Weddings is a movie that begins as an innocent adventure. Shania get a chance to go to India and write a feature on multiple Indian weddings. There she meets Harbhajan and falls in love with him during her journey. Harbhajan, on the other hand, is spying on Shania as he believes she is on an espionage mission. The movie begins with light-hearted scenes but slowly turns into a revelation of the life of Hijras or transgenders.
Rao is effortless in the movie but he appears to be sleepwalking in some of the scenes. Fakhri’s acting tropes need a lot more polishing. She tries her best to appear serious and animated on screen but nothing much comes out of her performance. The other characters in the movie are unidimensional and do not appeal much on a deeper scale.
The subject of the movie, however, is bold and it does touch some sensitive points of the Indian society that not many people would like to identify with. Making this movie was a bold move for Namrata Singh Gujral, who was originally set to play the role of Shania alongside Harbhajan Mann in 2008. After battling cancer for a decade, she returned to the project but this time, behind the camera.
There is nothing wrong with the story or subject matter of the movie. The casting, however, could be questionable. Also, seasoned actors like Derek, Clark and Rao need a lot more mature scripts to work on. While the story presents promise, the overall treatment of the film looks half baked. If the movie released 10 years ago and in Punjabi (my opinion), it would have not just earned applause but become a pathbreaking work if given the right treatment.
At the moment, 5 Weddings isn’t a bad film to watch. You can buy the tickets and have a good time if you don’t have very high expectations.