Film: "Aaha Kalyanam"; Cast: Nani, Vaani Kapoor, Badava Gopi and Simran; Director: A. Gokul Krishna; Rating: **1/2
"Aaha Kalyanam", the southern remake of Hindi entertainer "Band Baaja Baaraat", is a faithful attempt by debutant director A. Gokul Krishna. But the biggest problem with it is that it's a frame-to-frame copy of the original and that too sans creativity.
For all those who have watched the original, the film will turn out to be unsatisfying, while for the rest it's a decent one-time watch with humour that crackles at regular intervals. Despite solid performances by the lead cast, "Aaha Kalyanam" misses the soul of the original and that was to be embraced the most.
Sakthi (Nani) and Shruti (Vaani) are two fresh college graduates, who partner up to start a wedding planning venture. It turns out to be successful in a very short span of time. Having championed the art of the business with small-budget weddings, they move to the next level, where they have to lock horns with Chandrlekha (Simran), a prolific wedding planner in the industry. With honesty and dedication, they beat her hands down.
When Sakthi and Shruti began working together, they swore not to mix finance with romance and that there will be no room for love in their relationship. But that rule gets overridden when an incident which brings them intimately close. Subsequently, Shruti falls in love with Sakthi, who is worried that he has broken her trust, and, therefore, tries to avoid her. When Shruti comes to learn that Sakthi is avoiding her for reasons she fails to understand, she kicks him out of the company, triggering off rivalry between them.
The problem with most Indian remakes is that they try to live up to the standards of the original, when ideally they should be concerned about the reaction of the audience. In its attempt to recreate the original for Tamil audience, "Aaha Kalyanam" merely reproduces scenes from the former with a different cast. Even with a new cast, some scenes of the film give you the feeling of watching the Tamil dubbed version of "Band Baaja Baaraat".
The only likable aspect of "Aaha Kalyanam" is the wedding sequences, which reek of colour and southern flavour, breathing life into the film.
Although the music is passable, one song in particular stands out for bringing out more than 20 wedding cultures to perfection. These are some of the best moments of the film you even remember long after walking out of the theatre. But again, most of the wedding is portrayed through songs and you seldom get to experience the joy of wedding through the characters.
Nani is impressive as Sakthi and there couldn't have been a better actor to play his role. He also takes the effort to dub in his own voice in Tamil, and he earns some brownie points for the same. Vaani makes an excellent southern film debut, but she seems to be too good for the role and also lacked the southern connect. Ideally, the makers should've opted for a familiar face such as Tamannaah Bhatia or Shruti Haasan, who are popular with the Tamil audience.
The fact that the makers dubbed the film in Tamil instead of shooting it simultaneously, is such a turn off. On the contrary, dialogues by Rajiv Rajaram manage to evoke laughter even in the most serious scenes. That's a bonus that the film rightfully deserves.
Overall, "Aaha Kalyanam" is like going to a colourful wedding and being served tasteless food.