Shiddat Story: A young lover with immense perseverance changes the course of his life to follow the girl, who he thinks is his soulmate. But his journey, spanning across continents, is fraught with problems, reality checks and a seemingly one-sided obsession. Will he find love or perish in the quest for love?
Shiddat Review: It’s love at first sight for Jaggi (Sunny Kaushal) when he sees Kartika (Radhika Madan) coming out of the swimming pool. But sparks don’t fly instantly, as an elaborate ‘nafrat pyaar ki pehli seedi hai’ kinda process follows, with Jaggi trying every trick in the book to woo the girl. There’s some fun to be had here, as director Kunal Deshmukh transports us to the 90’s brand of cinema that’s played out in the modern setting. It is slightly problematic to see a very motivated young man, who is obsessed with a girl and won’t take no for an answer – something that was not only accepted in the 90’s but also celebrated with song and dance. ‘Shiddat’ comes dangerously close to that but thankfully, writers (Shridhar Raghavan, Dheeraj Rattan) give ample agency to the girl, who is independent enough to take a stand for herself. As a passionate love story, ‘Shiddat’ is driven purely from the perspective of its male protagonist Jaggi, whose manic obsession is given enough time to build. The entire first half is light and breezy with campus romance, flirting and a lot of naach gaana – basically everything but academics. What works here is the unpredictability factor, as you wonder what will become of this improbable love story.
There aren’t many characters in ‘Shiddat’,’ which is refreshing, but their individual arcs could have been more sharply defined. There is little conviction in Mohit Raina and Diana Penty’s story that seems to exist merely to aid the central storyline, which is fine, but it doesn’t feel organic. Sunny Kaushal has the hardest time playing a bouncy lover-boy with serious boundary issues and while the actor gives it his best to make it convincing, his character graph starts becoming too hard to believe. Radhika Madan struggles to portray Kartika’s inner conflict effectively on screen, mostly, resorting to fumbling to convey her anxiety. Mohit Raina is well cast as Gautam, the upright Indian immigration lawyer in a foreign land, but there are too many cinematic liberties to take him seriously. Diana Penty looks gorgeous as the independent young Ira, but her character could have been developed more effectively. For a love story, ‘Shiddat’ has above average music (Sachin-Jigar) that grows on you and is effectively used to enhance the narrative. With rich cinematography (by Amalendu Chaudhary), the film shows visual finesse.
The major problem with ‘Shiddat’ is that it’s an exciting idea on paper that tends to drag in execution, especially in the second half. The story is highly unrealistic at times and preposterous too, but what keeps it going is the sense of volatility and suspense. However, it’s true that in today’s world of realistic cinema, we often don’t get to see completely mad, raw and defiant love stories. This one goes there with Shiddat, but doesn’t leave you deeply moved.