Laapataa Ladies Review: A Shakespearean Carry On in Indian Arranged Marriage Comedy

Laapataa Ladies brings a fresh take on the often-used arranged marriage trope in Indian comedies. Directed by Amit Sharma, known for more serious fare like Badhaai Ho, this foray into an out-and-out comedy pays off well.

The premise follows two best friends, Netra and Janvi, who make a pact to only marry for love. However, as their family pressures to accept arranged matches intensify, they hatch a hilarious plan to sabotage the rishtas. What follows is a clever commentary on the archaic traditions of arranged matches in modern Indian society.

Flipping the Script with Strong Female Leads

Unlike most films in this genre which tend to portray women as meek and subservient, Laapataa Ladies focuses on the women leading the charge. Netra and Janvi drive the narrative with their clever scheming and unwillingness to compromise. The men are objectified, as the women judge and reject them.

Sharma flips the script on traditional Indian matchmaking, subverting stereotypical gender dynamics. This allows for incisive social commentary as well as some great comedic set pieces as the ladies unleash chaos.

Comedic Premise Rooted in Real Societal Pressures

While the core premise veers towards the absurd at times, it remains emotionally grounded in real pressures single Indian women face from families regarding marriage.

As much as Netra and Janvi initially revel in sabotaging rishtas for sport, they grow increasingly conflicted by hurting their parents’ sentiments. The emotional arcs explore difficult realities about tradition versus individuality.

Stellar Cast Elevates Material

With a cast featuring some of India’s finest performers at the peak of their talents, Laapataa Ladies has all the makings of an ensemble high. The cast delivers above and beyond to turn the clever script into an uproarious riot.

Swara Shines as Rebellious Netra

Swara Bhaskar continues her streak playing strong-willed and rebellious women by sinking her teeth into the role of Netra. She portrays Netra’s conflict between standing up for her independence and caving to parental pressure with emotional honesty.

Her comic timing and rapport with her co-stars also stands out. She gets to flex her acting chops between chaotic antics opposite hapless suitors and emotional, introspective moments.

Supriya Delivers Career-Best Performance

As the shyer Janvi, Supriya Pathak is a revelation with arguably her best performance to date. She plays the straight woman to Swara’s wild child, their Odd Couple dynamic driving much of the comedy.

Seeing the normally demure Pathak embrace her previously untapped talents for physical comedy makes for a treat. Her subtle expressions and knack for slapstick melds neatly with Swara’s brand of bold humor.

Shakespearean Parallels Enhance Commentary

There is an ambition beyond simply tickling the funny bone here, as Sharma enhances his social commentary by weaving in clever allusions to Shakespeare. Netra and Janvi function as modern Indian avatars of Beatrice and Benedick from Much Ado About Nothing.

Battle of Wits and Clash of Values

The back-and-forth wordplay and battle of wits between Bhaskar and Pathak channels the Bard’s romantic leads. The film also borrows its title from Twelfth Night’s ‘Laputa’, which means chaos and disorder.

These references underline how rebellion against regressive marriage traditions provokes generational and gender clashes. It sharpens the commentary on how societal evolution lags behind youthful idealism.

Characters Transcend Archetypes

While using Shakespeare comparisons could seem pretentious, Laapataa Ladies wears the bard references lightly. The leads have well-etched characters that stand on their own beyond literary archetypes.

Moments of emotional honesty and empathy prevent the narrative from seeming frivolous. There are sincere undercurrents beneath the madcap proceedings.

Bottom Line

With a talented cast clearly having a blast, slyly subversive commentary, and riotous slapstick humor, Laapataa Ladies makes for a carries on the proud Indian tradition of comedies that both provoke thought and provide non-stop entertainment. It puts a progressive spin on the arranged marriage comedy mold.

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