From the makers of Hum Aapke Hain Koun and Hum Saath Saath Hain comes yet another dose of diabetes-inducing nostalgia, which harks back to a bygone era of outmoded tradition and overrated virtue. Shahid Kapoor and Amrita Rao take on the mantle of Barjatya’s nubile protagonists in an over earnest story of true love, sacrifice and marriage. Parents hankering for a taste of old-world morality and mawkish sentiment will love it. The rest of us should just reach for a bucket.
The youngest son of a wealthy business family, Prem, (Shahid Kapoor) is just beginning to make his way in the world. He has no plans to marry, but that all changes when he is presented with a photo of Poonam (Amrita Rao). A simple girl from a small town, Poonam is an orphan, lovingly brought up by her Chacha (Alok Nath) as his own. Prem and Poonam are engaged and quickly fall in love. But when tragedy strikes, their future together is in doubt.
In an age of burgeoning liberalism, the notion of quaint love as depicted in Vivaah is clearly at odds with the modern view, making it difficult to stomach. It doesn’t help that Amrita Rao is so insipid and portrayed as a paragon of virtue in a world of apparent depravity where "girls eat out at restaurants". Shahid Kapoor meanwhile, does Salman proud as the playful Prem, capturing his personal growth from youthful exuberance to maturity. But with stock characters and a simplistic narrative that rests on a chance accident, this is shoddy storytelling, crudely devised to manipulate the audience’s emotions.
"DIDACTIC, WORTHY AND HIGHLY SANITISED"
Sickeningly sentimental, Vivaah is a didactic, worthy, and highly sanitised take on reality in keeping with the Rajshri tradition. Surely, time for change.