Satyaprem Ki Katha Movie Review: Kiara Advani is the engine of this Kartik Aaryan vehicle
Rating:(2.5 / 5)
Kartik Aaryan has done this before. 2013’s Akaash Vani, in which Kartik starred with frequent collaborator Nushrratt Bharuccha, has similarities with Satyaprem Ki Katha which go beyond their titles being harmonious wedding hash tags. The off-course Luv Ranjan directorial played in familiar territories of love, parental oppression and necessity of consent. But that was before Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2. Satyaprem… had to be and is grander, in cognizance with its leading “middle-class star”. Its themes can be construed as both dated and urgent but the film has an inkling of a voice that often gets lost in vibrant song sequences, dandiya snaps and the wide grin of its lead. This makes me think, how wide can Kartik Aaryan smile?
Starring: Kartik Aaryan, Kiara Advani, Gajraj Rao, Supriya Pathak, Rajpal Yadav, Shikha Talsania
Directed by: Sameer Vidwans
Satyaprem aka Sattu (Kartik) is an LLB fail, virgin chokro who is keener to find a girl to wed than a job. On a Navratri night Sattu falls for Katha (Kiara Advani) but she rejects his advances as she is committed to another. Sattu vows to wait. A year later, he comes to know that Katha has broken it off with her boyfriend. He gives it a shot again but this time, it is a different story. Their second meeting ends up in a hospital as Katha has slit her wrist. Is she just depressed over a break-up? Her parents consider it better to marry her off after the suicide attempt. Their best bet is Satyaprem. His dreams come true and they tie the knot. But Katha won’t consummate the marriage.
Initially, Satyaprem… proceeds like a typical Kartik Aaryan feature. He overplays his vexed self for comic relief, plasters his toothy grin at times to make up for dialogues and romances with the confused innocence of a puppy. Kiara Advani’s portrayal of the reclusive Katha, however, changes everything. After the bright, red and yellow festive dance numbers, the film goes for the gray. When a tormented Sattu asks Katha why she won’t sleep with him since now she is his baidi (wife), she replies, “Because I am asexual.” I stopped taking notes for a minute and sat up straight. Let’s see how a commercial family entertainer explains this?
The film quickly realises it has bitten more than it can chew. It pulls back to digestible concepts of consent and rape. Still, it keeps some novelty palpitating and explores the horrors of date-rape. In a harrowing scene, Kiara’s Katha trembles and gets a panic attack as she proceeds to get intimate with Sattu. In another, she breaks down in the bathroom. The film even delves into Satyaprem’s predicament of being a virgin whose wife might never have sex with him. But when it comes to emotional range, Kartik runs a lap behind Kiara. The trouble with Satyaprem… is that it wastes too much time wrapping itself in sellable shenanigans of its lead star whereas it could have delved deeper into Katha’s Katha. She is everything, he is just Kartik Aaryan.