‘Zara Hatke Zara Bach Ke’: Fails on its Comic Potential

By Shubhra Gupta

How far will you go for a house of your own? And at what point will you draw the line? Zara Hatke Zara Bachke’s central conflict is one that makes it instantly relatable to millions of middle-class Indians. When it comes right down to it, young Indore-based couple Kapil (Vicky Kaushal) and Soumya (Sara Ali Khan) have some tough calls to take: will they be able to go through with it?

In the way it gets going, Zara Hatke is pure sitcom territory. Kapil is a yoga instructor, Soumya is a tutor; their two-year-old marriage still has spark. Both are constricted for space in their house, with mummyji, daddyji, mamaji, mamiji, and a too smart for his own good nephew, who is constantly inserting himself in between the young couple when they want to get cosy. The only way out, as Soumya sees it, is an abode in which they can enjoy their privacy, and to which end, the two embark on a path on which there are several roadblocks, including (spoiler alert) a fake divorce.

You’re all set for a light-hearted yarn, as Kapil and Soumya chomp on greasy roadside noodles, split a fizzy soda (she calls him a ‘cheepda’ because he insists on getting only one, never two) and share a five star bar (ooh, more branding) together, while breaking into a couple of forgettable songs. A government housing scheme meant for lower income groups comes up on their radar, and both agree to do questionable things, in the hope of lucking out.

But the film never quite builds on its comic potential, by throwing a tonal switch somewhere down in its second-half, introducing a plot twist doused in mothballed sentimentality, and adding a dreary sanskari layer to the whole thing. That, and by consistently flat writing, which overcomes the efforts of the actors, especially Himanshu Kohli’s paan-chewing lawyer (the funniest part of the film) who tries his best to help the hapless couple, Inaamulhaq as the charlatan-liar who gobbles money from the innocent public, and Sharib Hashmi as the good-natured chowkidar who, we all know, will be granted his biggest wish; no prizes for guessing what that is.
As for Kaushal and Khan, the former does better at his ‘kanjoos’ self (representing people who deduct portions from their ‘aaj’ to save for their ‘kal’); the latter needs to build in significantly more variation in delivery. And while the two are made to say sorry to each other for having nearly ruined their relationship over this obsession for a house, the film makes it very clear that it is the woman who is more to blame than the poor man, who keeps trying to keep peace between his ‘selfish’ wife, and his affectionate family for whom blood will always be thicker than Thums Up.
What else can you say for a film which revolves around keeping both a marriage, and morals, intact?

Cast: Vicky Kaushal, Sara Ali Khan, Himanshu Kohli, Neeraj Sood, Inamamulhaq, Sharib Hashmi, Rakesh Bedi, Sushmita Mukherjee
Director: Laxman Utekar
Rating: 2 star
— Indian Express