Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga: Exclusive Movie Review By A Teen
With its heart in the right place, ELKDTAL is a breath of fresh air! With a simple, fast-paced eloquent narrative, the movie sensitively talks about choices and acceptance. So, are you ready for it?
By Vanshika Devuni Kalanidhi
I’m a teenager. And as any well-meaning adult would tell you, I’m always stuck to my phone. Although baby boomers make it sound bad, being on the Internet has actually helped me in multiple ways. Truth be told, I wasn’t the most accepting person when I first started using the Internet. The shows I used to watch and people I used to hang out with frequently made fun of darker-skinned people, gay people, trans people, women and several other communities (I don’t like those shows or people anymore!). But because of the Internet, I’ve also learned a lot of things about different people, and I’ve taken major strides in becoming a more accepting person. And if I could do that, so can you. The movie I reviewed this week is one that talks about acceptance.
An unusual plot
Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga (ELKDTAL) is a Bollywood movie with a relatively unorthodox plot. Sweety, a young girl from a small town called Moga, Punjab, is subjected to many matchmaking offers. When she accidentally meets a Muslim boy called Sahil Mirza, a playwright, we thought we were up for a classy rom-com. Instead, we found out that she is in love with a girl. Yes, a girl who wants to marry a girl! Sahil then decides to help Sweety come out to reveal her gender identity in a different, offbeat way by directing a play in an orthodox backdrop.
As a child of Gen Z, I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and understood the predicament of those who are different. It's a big moment in Bollywood history. It is dedicated to other closeted lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer (LGBTQ+) kids who assume they are 'unnatural'.
The movie did not over-complicate the plot. It was a simple, fast-paced and easy-to-follow narrative. It did not make fun of anybody, did not insult anybody’s religion (except for the Islamophobia in the first half) and it was simple enough for everyone to understand.
It had moving and powerful scenes. The symbolism of putting young Sweety in a glass box, the bullies ganging up on her because she had a different sexual orientation and the climax scenes were great examples. It captures the struggles faced by LGBTQ+ youth very well.
I’m very proud of the cast and crew for making such a risky film and doing it well. Sonam Kapoor played the shy and meek Sweety really well. She tries almost everyday to reveal her identity and come out of the closet, but the fast talking, loud people around silence her and make assumptions about her. Anil Kapoor brings humour and gentleness to the ‘dad’ character, Balvinder Singh, owner of Choudhary Garments. His passion for cooking was adorable! #LetBalvirBeAChef2019!
Rajkummar Rao was cute and played the part of a really magnificent friend. His acting was on point. Also, Regina Cassandra as the girl Sweety is in love with, was amazing. Brilliant. Show-stopping. Gorgeous. A blessing to humanity. I’ve seen her in a few Telugu movies when I was younger and her acting has really evolved since then. She portrayed Kuhu with the perfect amount of swag and bubbly energy. Honestly, who wouldn’t fall for her?
A breath of fresh air
It was good to see a fresh concept in Bollywood, rather than the same old love story go a hundred different ways. I’m glad that this curtailed topic — usually mocked or made fun of — has been showcased by A-listers in a high-production film. The movie throws in some light-hearted and intelligent comedy as well! I literally loved all of Juhi Chawla’s one-liners. She played the role of a lady in her late 40s who discovers her love for acting and bonds well with aspiring cook Balvinder. She rocks with her catchword 'mind-shattering ji'!
One thing that bothers me about love and marriage in Indian society is the rigid set of rules associated with it. We have a billion movies about love and romance, but most parents restrict their kids from actually falling in love. You are judged if you get married late. Your family berates you if you have only one child. You aren’t supposed to marry outside your caste. You aren’t supposed to marry outside your religion. You aren’t supposed to marry a non-local. You aren’t supposed to marry someone of your own sex. Why are there so many restrictions placed on what is supposed to be the best feeling in the world? Whatever happened to ‘unity in diversity’? For these reasons, I’m happy the movie talks about these topics.
It was a great movie with heart-breaking scenes and well-showcased struggles, as well as a bit of comedy. It didn’t have any slow bits and I’d love to watch it again on Netflix or Prime. I give it a 4 stars rating.
My five takeaways from ELKDTAL:
- Live and let live.
- You are not alone if you have a different sexual orientation. Bond with others like you.
- Speak up when you need to or, you will spend your time leading a fake life.
- Follow your passion whenever life gives you a chance — even if that means the latter part of your life.
- Don't judge or make fun of others' choices.
The author is a writer/blogger who blogs at www.vanshikadevuni.blogspot.com
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