Damadamm! (Swapna Waghmare Joshi, 2011)
I have to admit, I kind of went into Damadamm! expecting a guilty pleasure of a film – you know, something so bad it was good, a kitschy cracktastic mess, or at the very least, something ridiculous I could blog about. I'm not entirely sure WHERE I got that impression from, but I have a couple of theories:
1.I reviewed the soundtrack when it was released and thus was familiar with a couple of gems:
Mango, a love song that is, as the title suggests, entirely based around the fruit. First question: how the hell would they wedge a song about a MANGO into the film?
- and this AMAZINGLY CATCHY, AMAZINGLY IRRITATING earworm:
which I think kind of speaks for itself. What it says about me that I still kind of vaguely wanted to see the film after seeing this clip is probably best left unpondered.
2. It stars Himesh Reshammiya in the lead role.
Full disclosure: I actually love Himesh – I have no problem with his “nasal” singing voice and so I figured I might like him in a movie too. If it was a mess, ehhh, I like bad movies sometimes.
I'd never seen any of Himesh's other films but I am very much aware that – in terms of his music career at least – Himesh is a person you love or hate. And I had a pretty good idea that in terms of his acting career (Karzzz, Radio, I have no idea what else he's been in) he's not been...super successful in finding the...box office success/critical appreciation he perhaps craves?
The story centres on Sameer (Himesh Reshammiya) – a fairly successful employee in a film distribution company, who is in a long-term live-in relationship with Shikha (Purbi Joshi). The problem is that Shikha is super possessive and...clingy (AND ANNOYING TO WATCH. Problem #1: why would you be with anyone like this longterm, ever?) When Shikha goes away for a fortnight to visit her family, Sameer experiences freedom...and also befriends Sanjana (Sonal Sehgal) , his boss's sister, who is like the polar opposite of Shikha. What follows is a bunch of complication in Sameer's lovelife: Shikha comes back and is instantly insanely jealous of Sanjana; Sameer has to decide where his relationship is going, and then his boss throws a spanner in the works: he wants Sameer to get married...to SANJANA.
Damadamm! won't be winning any awards for its screenplay any time soon. It's a flawed movie – sure – but it's one of those frothy, light, romantic comedies that are super easy to watch and enjoy in the moment, and the vast inconsistencies and gaping plotholes in the story and the characters' motivations only really make themselves apparent when you think about it later.
The plus side: WHY WOULD YOU THINK ABOUT IT LATER? It's fluff. Background noise. If your background noise sounds like this:
I'm pretty familiar with the sensation of being the lone voice in favour of a film that has received overwhelming criticism from other quarters – I think partly it's because I don't always go into a film with the same expectations – you can't expect a Desi Boyz to deliver the same kind of entertainment as a Satyakam; the way you can't expect what is marketed as a frothy, romantic comedy to deliver many surprises in the way of plot or substance, especially when the lead actor is...not really an actor.
So it was something of a surprise that Damadamm! - the film that was pretty much universally mocked for DARING to release against Ra.One – is NOT a cracktastic “so bad it's good” mess, but is kind of a sweet, though flawed film about the trials of adult relationships. Himesh especially was a nice surprise – as Sameer, he's a goofy dork of a hero, quite sweet and endearing. The movie DID start out a little cracktastic – I was curious to see how Mango would be wedged in there and sure enough it's awkward: Sameer is dragged to a party and: “I work for a film distribution company and our next film has a really cool song in it, want me to sing it for you?” REALLY DAMADAMM?! REALLY?! - but the basic story – all the relationship manouevring and Sameer having to figure out what he actually wanted and grow up a little – actually became genuinely engaging. Purbi Joshi has the tough job of playing an extremely annoying character, the needy, shrewish girlfriend, and one thing I liked about Damadamm is that it DOES eventually (sort of) answer the question of why Sameer would ever want to be with her, giving her character a bit more depth than just “nagging bitch”.
All in all – it's a nice movie with a good soundtrack, the very definition, I would say, of the word timepass with a positive bias.
I KNOW, RIGHT?! It's NOT the impression you get from the cover. I guess what I'm saying is: if you like Himesh, watch it, because you'll be able to gloss over the film's flaws and enjoy the goofy sweetness. If you know you don't like him, steer well clear, because it's not great; nor bad enough to be hilarious.