‘Satyaprem ki Katha’: An Overcooked Plot

By Shubhra Gupta

The latest family drama starring Kartik Aaryan and Kiara Advani is an attempt to be radical while keeping it under wraps, hoping viewers will swallow the ‘brave’ stuff if it’s wrapped tightly enough in an ultra-bright red-and-yellow palette, Gujju bhais and bens doing dandiya, referencing endless iterations of ‘kem chos’ and ‘maaja maas’. Result: Satyaprem Ki Katha, in trying to please everyone by its mod-trad vibe, ends up being neither here nor there, while blasting our eardrums in the process because whoever heard of keeping the background music volume low?


Satyaprem aka Sattu (Kartik Aaryan) is a good-natured jobless LLB-fail fellow who falls hard for the pretty Katha (Kiara Advani) as they go round and round in circles on the dance floor during the Navratris. Turns out that Katha is not that into our hero, who keeps talking up the part that supporting heroes play while bumblingly trying to be supportive of the girl of his dreams, but the plot with one too many strands which want to beat patriarchy and sound the gong for independent women, won’t let them be apart.

In their quest for togetherness, Sattu and Katha come up against what could have been interesting roadblocks in the path to true love. In the process, we are presented with wives not sharing beds with husbands (gasp) and being quite blasé about it; we are also confronted with the idea that a wife may not ever enjoy conjugal bliss with her husband (double gasp), and for the latter to be fine with it. Yes, really.

But before you can start really savouring these highly unusual strokes amongst these folks — Gajraj Rao as Sattu’s father, Supriya Pathak Shah as the ‘working’ mother, Shikha Talsania as the snippy sister — the film doubles back on
itself, and starts giving us loud lectures on the problems with letting someone go to ‘first and second-base’ and then saying no, date rapes, and post-traumatic grief. Somewhere under this overwrought and overcooked plot is a real film about two people dealing with troubled pasts and trying to create an acceptable present, and both Kartik and Kiara go at it with all they’ve got, but their attempts get buried under everything else that the film throws at us.

The treatment, which keeps teetering on the brink of melodrama, instantly dates it. After dishing out gyaan on how Katha needs to become the owner of her destiny, Sattu emerges as the hero who saves the heroine. More fools us for expecting anything else. The comedy add-on, by Rajpal Yadav, is dull and borderline distasteful. The closeups are held on too long. And the explanatory dialogues keep wanting you to pat them on their heads for being so progressive. When a woman says no, she means no. Yes, absolutely, and it’s good that Bollywood is acknowledging it,
but maybe the film needs to be less loud? How about some subtle notes, which may be far more effective? And no, the lilting notes of ‘Pasoori’, which comes late in the film, don’t help.

Cast: Kartik Aaryan, Kiara Advani, Gajraj Rao, Supriya Pathak Shah, Siddhrath Randeria, Shikha Talsania, Anuradha Patel, Rajpal Yadav
Director: Sameer Vidwaans
Rating: 2 stars
— Indian Express