Dr Khusi Pattanayak

Tiku Weds Sheru (Hindi, 2023) arrives on the silver screen a few decades later than it ideally should have. This is a script from 60s/70s ‘progressive’ movie phase but lacks depth, insight, or panache.

The film yokes two popular ideas – small town girl with big dreams and the cruel realities of dreamy cities. The heroine represents the first idea, the hero represents the second. As a symbolic representation of combined existential crisis, both are married off and left to struggle with unfulfilled dreams and sufferings.

Tiku (Avneet Kaur) is a rebel like Tanu (Tanu Weds Manu) or Rumi (Manmarziyaan). But unlike Tanu or Rumi each time Tiku took a non-conformist decision she is pushed to the margins, as if being punished for trying to oppose the social norms. She is a rebel without any agency; always apologetic for being a moral and ethical mess.

Sheru (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), on the other hand is a phenomenal liar, a street-smart junior artist who is also into all things illegal. He intends to be a great actor one day, but that never happens. His nefarious behaviour is balanced with a golden heart that believes in ‘family first’ motto.

Ironically, the idea of ‘family’ that the film engages in seems to be steeped in problems. Families are imperfect beyond redemption. So much so that each time Sheru utters ‘my family,’ it feels like an extended joke or a caricature.

Sana is a bright example of this family mess. She is packed off with her sister after Tiku’s marriage (a decision she does not bother disagreeing to as it involved certain freedom that she badly longed for); but what after that? No one seems to be interested or invested in her (including she herself) – career, education, emotional needs – nothing.

She is taken for granted and continues being there, until hunger forces her to take some action, and eventually vanishes from the script altogether. This is the same problem I had years back with Chutki (Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge); as all sacrificing support mechanism these sister-figures simply turn into cardboard existence.

Tiku Weds Sheru is being promoted as drama, comedy, romance, but oddly enough the film lacks everything. Somewhere I read this was originally planned with Irrfan Khan and Kangana Ranaut but due to Sai Kabir’s (director) poor health, followed by Irrfan’s demise the movie was delayed and other changes followed. I sincerely wish they had entirely aborted the plan after so many hiccups.

Kangana Ranaut makes a special appearance; after all she is the producer. This is Manikarnika Films’ debut offering. Despite her personal and political views, I have immense respect for Ms. Ranaut as an actor. But her maiden offering as a producer is anything but impressive.  I am not sure why after so much of interruption she still decided to continue supporting such a wafer-thin script which neither inspires nor entertains. Maybe it was her Revolver Rani (2014) gratitude towards Kabir.

A junior artist story had great potential (Om Shanti Om) so did the story of a girl dreaming to be an actor (Main Madhuri Dixit Banna Chahti Hoon). But unfortunately, Tiku Weds Sheru is a wasted opportunity.

When I watch a movie, I am more of a glass half-full kind of a person. But this movie is an exception. Nothing is in place. Do not bother watching this film. But if you still cannot stop yourself, Tiku Weds Sheru is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

(The author is an internationally published writer & corporate communication specialist. Views are personal)