‘Shastry virudh Shastry’: A Relatable Modern Social Drama

By Abhishek Srivastava

STORY: Seven-year-old Yaman Shastry is the apple of his grandparents’ eyes. When Yaman’s parents decide to relocate to the US, the grandfather adamantly refuses to let the child leave the ancestral home, leading to a family legal battle.

REVIEW: ‘Shastry Viruddh Shastry’ delves into a contemporary issue that resonates with many urban parents, addressing the reliance on grandparents for childcare. The film offers a thought-provoking experience as the child becomes a point of contention between a father and a grandfather, shedding light on the patriarchal dynamics within families and the consequences they can lead to. While it keeps the audience engaged, the final hour stretches the narrative and incorporates preachy messages that could have easily been omitted.

The story revolves around Yaman (Kabir Pahwa), who resides with his grandparents, Manohar (Paresh Rawal) and Urmila (Neena Kulkarni), in Panchgani. Yaman’s parents, Malhar (Shiv Panditt) and Mallika (Mimi Chakraborty), pursue their careers in Mumbai and visit Panchgani only on weekends, mainly connecting with their child through video chats. However, when Malhar receives a job offer in the US and plans to relocate with his wife and son, Manohar Shastry vehemently opposes the idea, setting the stage for a tense legal battle over custody.

This film is essentially a remake of a Bengali film called “Posto,” directed by the same director duo who helmed this project. Notably, the veteran actor Soumitra Chatterjee portrayed the grandfather in the original film. ‘Shastry Viruddh Shastry’ delivers several poignant moments that tug at the heartstrings. Scenes like the courtroom confrontation where the son struggles to watch his father being interrogated by the lawyer, or the child’s plea for help when his grandfather collapses on the way back from school are both well-executed and emotionally effective on screen.

Paresh Rawal, in the role of the doting grandfather who remains sceptical of his son due to his drinking habits and job instability, delivers a compelling performance. Shiv Panditt and Mimi Chakraborty exude confidence in their roles as Malhar and Mallika, while Kabir Pahwa as Yaman charms the audience and brings smiles at several instances. However, the standout performance in this social drama is by Amruta Subhash, who portrays a sharp lawyer. Subhash excels in her role, leaving no room for false notes.

This emotionally charged film takes the viewer on a relatable journey, particularly for urban couples who can identify with the events portrayed. The film’s appeal also lies in the old-world charm crafted by the director duo, Nandita Roy and Shiboprosad Mukherjee. However, at 140 minutes, the film’s length becomes a bit of a drawback, especially in the final thirty minutes, where it may test the audience’s patience and make them unwittingly glance at their watches in anticipation.