Film: Zara Hatke Zara Bachke
Director: Laxman Utekar
Cast: Vicky Kaushal, Sara Ali Khan, Inaamulhaq, Sushmita Mukherjee, Neeraj Sood, Rakesh Bedi, Sharib Hashmi
A middle-class, happily married couple wants a home of their own, and to fulfil this wish, they choose a road not so straight that lands them in trouble. After ‘Luka Chuppi’ (2019) and ‘Mimi’ (2021), Laxman Utekar brings another entertaining and relatable story in ‘Zara Hatke Zara Bachke’.
Newly-married Kapil Dubey (Vicky Kaushal) and Saumya Chawla Dubey (Sara Ali Khan) are looking for some space and privacy in a small house they share with Kapil’s parents. Kapil’s mama (maternal uncle), mami and their son also stay with them. Vicky and Sara with their limited earnings, he is a yoga teacher and she’s a tutor, can’t afford a separate house. To get a flat, the two go through a circuitous route that involves faking a divorce to benefit from a government housing scheme.
The first half opens on a rib-tickling note, he a miser, she a dreamer, sharing a Five Star chocolate and a Thums Up bottle. As the couple navigates marital bliss, their Punjabi-Brahmin backgrounds become a cause of contention in the family, with the sharp-tongued mami (Kanupriya Pandit) making life difficult for them. Set in Indore, Utekar shows a world that more than half of India can relate to. Middle-class struggles and family ‘siyappe’ (squabbles) are pretty amusing. Vicky has given a fine performance as a love-smitten man who would go to any lengths to fulfil his wife’s dreams. Sara is befitting company as a good-hearted Indian woman, who pairs sarees with sweaters, but is ambitious and not willing to give up on her dreams, be it romance or a ‘sapno ka ghar’.
The duo is supported ably by actors Akash Khurana and Anubha Fatehpuria as Dubey seniors; Neeraj Sood and Kanupriya Pandit as mama-mami; Sharib Hashmi as watchman Daroga Raghuvanshi and Himanshu Kohli as the best friend who is conveniently a lawyer. Cameos by Rakesh Bedi and Sushmita Mukherjee as Chawla seniors lend some funny punches as stereotypical Punjabis in love with booze and bling. The opening scene where an egg-based cake ruins celebrations puts the middle-class quirks right to the forefront. The court scenes in the film are exaggerated but fun. The ‘car-o-bar’ scene with the drunk father-in-law advising the supposedly errant son-in-law is particularly hilarious.
The film works on the strength of well-etched-out characters, besides Vicky-Sara’s chemistry. Music enhances the narrative whether it is an RD Burman old number ‘Dekho Maine Dekha Hai Yeh Ek Sapna,’ or Arijit Singh crooning ‘Phir Aur Kya Chahiye’.
What doesn’t work is a rather predictable storyline. The weak plot in the second half feels stretched and the comic momentum gained over the first half gets derailed. The film does come together towards the end though. A story rooted in Indian values and a befitting treatment makes ‘Zara Hatke Zara Bachke’ a watchable family drama.