Satyaprem Ki Katha: A lost plot

Kartik Aaryan and Kiara Advani in Satyaprem Ki Katha. Photo: Trailer Video Grab

Forget the fact that no one can imagine a name like Satyaprem in 2023—though I may be wrong. The film was launched as Satyanarayan Ki Katha, to which a section of the people took justified objection as this is an integral part of a religious ritual, Satyanarayan ki Mahapuja, and the film was announced as a love story.

Over here, Katha is the name of the heroine (Kiara Advani) and Satyaprem (Kartik Aaryan) is the doting hero. Well, the idea was clear—she is Satyaprem’s Katha. So the film could have been simply named Prem Katha or Prem ki Katha (both with a dual meaning as with the original planned title).

But then, the film loses its plot in its greed to swallow multiple angles: a boyfriend rapes his girl, Katha (Kiara Advani) and makes her pregnant. The girl opts for an abortion and breaks up. News of her intended quiet abortion reaches her parents, so she attempts suicide. But a year back, a young man, Satyaprem (Kartik Aaryan) had fallen in love with her when she had danced at the city’s Navratri festival. As it happens, he had come to know then that she is “attached” and is now told that she has broken up with her boyfriend. He goes to meet her and saves her life as she has just attempted suicide by slicing her wrist.

Katha’s uber-orthodox, businessman father (Siddharth Randeria), who is actually ashamed of his daughter whom he feels is libidinous, grabs the chance and decides to marry her off to Satyaprem even if Satyaprem’s family is not as well-to-do, and, Katha is forced to agree. She likes Satyaprem but feels that he is too dependent on his own family and now on her father, who employs him at his shop and gives him a car. This is because Satyaprem is an academic failure and has failed his Law examinations thrice and has no job.

After marriage, Katha refuses to consummate it, and soon, Satyaprem knows why. He goes and beats up the boyfriend in a rage. Katha and he have a quirky on-off relationship that never reaches to the point of physical intimacy because of her trauma. And while Katha inspires Satyaprem “as a friend” to make another attempt at passing his exams, she never thinks of either legal action (and neither does he!) against her ex. Nor does she or her kith and kin, including Satyaprem after he comes to know of the truth, consider consulting a psychologist or psychiatrist to treat her mental trauma.

The film’s end comes suddenly, without any satisfactory conclusion: we do not know if Satyaprem finally passes his Law exams or the couple (dis)solve the barrier between them! There are statistics of rape shown, and a garba dance to show a “happy” ending. And this after 146 minutes of a convoluted, stretched ramble that includes a honeymoon in Kashmir that leads nowhere! Phew!

Set in Ahmedabad (to enable colorful vibrancy and lavishness in following traditions and song and dance), the film does not know where to focus and after a reasonably entertaining first half, dips alarmingly. The couple’s bonding is depicted very erratically, and the parents and families of the protagonists do not have any consistent graph in character and values.

Mention of the hero’s sister (Shikha Talsania)’s marriage match is there in the beginning, but it is forgotten permanently later. The heroine’s sister, Kinjal (Bhumi Rajgor)’s betrothal is also clumsily shown with Satyaprem addressing her fiancé, Dheeraj (Palash Tiwari) as ‘jiju’ (brother-in-law), but the couple is recalled only when it seems convenient: in fact, the lead pair leaves Dheeraj’s birthday party in minutes because Katha’s ex-boyfriend is due there!

The songs (compulsory ingredients of a good romance) slide into high-pitched rants with liberal Punjabi (in Gujarat and again in Kashmir!!!) and is concocted by a motley crew of music makers, and except for Kiara Advani’s introductory garba, there is nothing that makes a mark.

Technically average, the film has average direction and the editor is sent on a holiday. Kiara Advani is alright in a role that in part is a kind of reprise of what she did in Kabir Singh. Kartik Aaryan goes through the motions. Gajraj Rao and Supriya Pathak are wasted. Siddharth Randeria seems confused whether to be strict, affectionate, benevolent or callous. Anooradha Patel and the rest have nothing much to do. The dialogues (Karan Shrikant Sharma) have occasional spark, but his story and screenplay do not. At best, the direction is average.

And at best, the film is a little below that.

Rating: **1/2 (Almost)

Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment’s & Namah Pictures’ Satyaprem Ki Katha Produced by: Sajid Nadiadwala, Kishor Arora & Shareen Mantri Kedia Directed by: Sameer Vidwans Written by: Karan Shrikant Sharma Music: Meet Bros., Anjjan Bhattacharya, Tanishk Bagchi, Manan Bhardwaj, Payal Dev & Rochak Kohli  Starring: Kartik Aaryan, Kiara Advani, Gajraj Rao, Supriya Pathak, Siddharth Randeria, Anooradha Patel, Shikha Talsania, Bhumi Rajgor, Bhaumik Ahir, Palash Tiwari, Nirrmite Saawaant, Rajpal Yadav & others






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