For Western audiences there is nothing unusual about a scenario revolving around crippled commitment; a huge percentage of couples live together without the shackles of a marriage certificate, it is recognized; a state, previously shunned, now monumentally practiced.
But in India, with a tradition, going back to the Vedic period (1500-500 BC, and the iconic “Sita/Ram” fable) of “arranged marriages” this love story pushes the boundaries of the norm, still prevalent in contemporary India. Director Maneesh Sharma gifts audiences two remarkably different women: “Gayatri” (Parinetti Chopra), fiercely flamboyant, a chain- smoker, flagrantly defying or embracing any vestiges of historical constraints; she is the mistress of her passions and life; and “Tara” (Vaani Kapoor) a metaphor for pervasive customs, willing to accept an arranged, garlanded relationship, her strengths slowly unveiled, titillating and garnishing respect from the viewer.
“Raghu” (Sushant Singh Rajput) is a feckless, charming cad, vacillating between two lovers, indecisive, swayed by the ineluctable flutter of his pulse; in actuality, he is the weakest segment of the romance; lacking substantiality and viability, worthy of these women.
The conclusion of “Shuddh Desi Romance” has Eastern movie attendees (in the millions) humming; iconoclastic , unnerving, lacerating the expected; erasing a staid, intransigent, predictable outcome; in essence, freeing, refreshing, exuberant; lusting for more in the same stratum.