Film Review: ‘Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi’
Director: Bela Bhansali Sehgal
Cast: Boman Irani, Farah Khan, Daisy Irani, Shammi
The plot of Bela Bhansali Sehgal’s directorial debut is about as thin as a stick of salli, a form of potato chip that’s a favourite among Parsis. The film, which takes its name from the historical Persian tragic romance, Shirin and Farhad, is a vehicle for every Parsi stereotype in the book. It has its moments but on the whole, the movie, with tiresome cracks about Duke’s raspberry sodas and flatulent old bawas, is two hours of hot air.
Surprisingly Boman Irani, who usually hams uncontrollably in comic roles, delivers a believable performance. In fact, the film peaks in a scene in which a love-struck Irani plays air-guitar to a song whose refrain is “Gadheda” (Parsi Gujarati slang for “donkey”). He plays Farhad Pastakia, a 45 year-old underwear salesman who, like many middle-aged Parsi men, is unmarried. And just like many Parsi 45-year-olds, Pastakia lives with his mother Nergis (played by Farah Khan’s aunt Daisy Irani) and grandmother (Shammi). Nergis tries hard to get Farhad hitched but no Parsi girl wants to marry a man who sells lingerie and dreams of owning a department store dedicated to bras and panties. Until Shirin (Khan) comes along. Like many middle-aged Parsi women, she’s single and living with her ailing father. Shirin and Farhad fall in love and want to marry. But not if Nergis, sore from an incident involving Shirin and a water tank, can help it.
The only stereotype the film goes against is that of Parsis being a peace-loving community. A lot of the action takes place at community meetings that end in warring members throwing things at each other and beating each other up. This testy lot is made up of the same cast of actors who routinely play eccentric Parsis—Dinyar Tirandaz, Dinyar Contractor, Sohrab Ardeshir and Kurush Deboo, who, as always, plays a deranged bawa.Tags: Bela Bhansali Sehgal, Bollywood, Boman Irani, Daisy Irani, Farah Khan, Film, film reviews, Parsis, Shammi, Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi