Name: Satyaprem Ki Katha
Form: Kiara Advani, Kartik Aaryan, Supriya Pathak, Gajraj Rao
Judgement: 3.5 / 5
Satyaprem Ki Katha unfolds with a middle class boy in Ahmedabad, Satyaprem (Kartik Aaryan) who falls in love with Katha (Kiara Advani), who is struggling with her breakup with Tapan. During the journey, the duo discover each other’s lives and complement to accomplish what was left by mid-day. The film’s core conflict is about how Katha completes an arc for Satyaprem, and eventually how the latter also becomes the support system for the former to complete an unfinished task. What are the conflicts? What is an obstacle in Satyaprem and Katha’s love story? You discover that through Satyaprem Ki Katha.
After a long time, Satyaprem Ki Katha is a purely romantic saga and comes across as a breath of fresh air in the midst of big action movies and huge entertainers. Returning to a genre that Bollywood is known for, director Sameer Vidwans excels in telling an important story with utmost sensitivity without getting too preachy. While the first half has all the usual trappings of a commercial love story, the film slips into dramatic form in the second half, where the emotions unfold. The team has done well to keep Satyaprem Ki Katha’s core conflict a secret, which should come as a surprise to the public.
The emotions hit the right note, while the character arcs for the two protagonists are well defined, with an element of redemption moving towards the second half. The comedic part in the first frames brings smiles and the romantic song unfolds in a delightful way, but the real win for Satyaprem Ki Katha is getting the emotions right. You feel for Katha, and you root for Satyaprem to be the support system. It is an ambitious protagonist after a while as every girl would like to be hooked up with an understanding male protagonist like Satyaprem.
The screenplay is well written and the writers also do a good job in the dialogue to properly present a Gujarati family without taking the stereotypical route of making the characters loud and obnoxious. Sajid Nadiadwala brings good production values like all the other films of his banner.
What’s not working?
Satyaprem Ki Katha could have been shortened by about 10 minutes for better impact, especially in the first half, which takes a bit longer to get to the point. Rajpal Yadav’s song warranted better writing, resulting in a much funnier result. The conflict of the film is slightly urban, and the appreciation will therefore mainly come from the subways.
Pasoori’s placement in the story takes away the flavor created by the director in the plot points leading up to the song. The placement of Pasoori and also the recreation of Pasoori could have been avoided as it does not blend into the world of Satyaprem Ki Katha. Though the movie has two hit songs – Aaj Ke Baad and Naseeb – the overall album could have been better, especially considering that the movie is a love story.
Kartik Aaryan is a revelation as Satyaprem as he approaches the character with utmost sincerity and brings the much needed taste of innocence to his dialogue. This can be called his best act in his career, mainly because of the sensitivity shown in the second half. Satyaprem is also the most ambitious character Kartik has played to date, just like most superstars in the 1990s, and this should help him win over the family audience. One usually roots for an actor in an action movie, but Satyaprem Ki Katha is a love story that makes you root for the protagonist.
Kiara Advani as Katha brings an element of maturity to her performance. It’s a tricky role as it misses the mark on the emotional front and everything runs wild, but Kiara excels at approaching and making this well-written character her own. Watch out for her outburst in the second half that takes her on a bad memory trip. She is phenomenal all around. Gajraj Rao and his interactions with Kartik result in some heartwarming moments in the story. His character is also layered with elements of a progressive father but a regressive father-in-law, and he shines brightly. Supriya Pathak also gets her moments of glory in the second half and it is clear that she is doing well. The others in the ensemble – Shikha Talsania, Siddharth Randeria and Anuradha Patel – do well in their limited screen time.
Satyaprem Ki Katha is a love story with the heart in the right place. It is endearing, emotional and entertaining with strong performances from the two protagonists – Kartik and Kiara. A bit of trimming was necessary, but in the end you leave the cinema halls with a smile on your face and appreciate the maturity with which Sameer Vidwans has handled the subject. It’s a Prem Katha that deserves all the Prem!
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