The lyrics of the informal Mumbai hymn Ae Dil Hai Mushkil were used to create the heading of Laxman Utekar’s latest flick. There are instances in which Zara Hatke Zara Bachke reminds one of the kind of drama about the housing issue that the megapolis frequently produces.
Vicky Kaushal has already worked on one such project, Zara Hatke Zara Bachke, in which Sara Ali Khan co-stars. In the movie Love Per Square Foot, Kaushal’s character gets married for financial reasons in order to have a place to live.
In the latest film, a new game is underway, the moment in Indore. It’s uncommon, but happily married Kapil (Kaushal) as well as Somya (Khan) are able to sneak smooches when the remainder of the family isn’t watching. Since the release of Piya Ka Ghar in 1972, which depicts a newlywed couple attempting to consummate their relationship in a modest home shared alongside other family members, little has changed.
In Zara Hatke Zara Bachke, few surprises can be found. Both the context (North Indian, middle class, upper caste, conveniently conservative, aspiring, quirky) and the slapstick hilarity are well known. The jokes in the screenplay, written by Maitrey Bajpai as well as Ramiz Ilham Khan, must be accompanied by ferocious physical displays from the actors in order to be understood. Among the offenders are Kapil’s lawyer buddy (Himanshu Kohli), who more closely resembles a drug dealer than a legal eagle, and Kapil’s perpetually hysterical aunt (Kanupriya Pandit).
Vicky Kaushal is one of the actors that seems to be the most at ease with the setup, which is constantly noisy and irritating. This endearing artist cranks on the romantic charm and steals a heartfelt sequence all to himself, giving Zara Hatke Zara Bachke some sort of direction.
But soon after, the antics return. Previous work by Laxman Utekar includes the film Luka Chuppi, portraying a live-in pair who poses as married when their different families pass out from shock. Compared to Zara Hatke Zara Bachke, which bobs and dives far too frequently, the movie handled erratic tonal shifts considerably better.