Laapataa Ladies Movie Review

Laapataa Ladies Movie Review

The year is 2001. The state, Nirmal Pradesh, is fictional to give emotional credibility over cultural authenticity and to honor the Indian tradition of naming a place (nirmal means “pure”) to offset its reality. Young newlyweds Deepak (Sparsh Shrivastava) and Phool (Nitanshi Goel) are traveling far to his village. They’re not the only veiled bride and jumpy groom on the train after an auspicious wedding. Deepak arrives at his station with the wrong ‘wife’ after a late-night mishap. Before seeing her face, he’s at his ancestral home celebrating in the most humiliating way. Parents are unimpressed, friends are almost amused. Even worse, Pushpa (Pratibha Ranta), the wrong bride, doesn’t know where her husband lives. Phool, terrified, descends with Pushpa’s new family but waits at the station. She also forgot Deepak’s village name. A tragedy of mistakes. Shyam Manohar (Ravi Kishan), a corrupt cop, takes the case.

Sparsh Shrivastava and Nitanshi Goel married recently. The couple takes a crowded train to Mukhi, Deepak’s village. During wedding season, their compartment has other married couples. The women wear similar clothes and a heavy red veil that obscures their vision. Deepak misidentifies Phool as another bride and asks her to board when they stop at night. Once home, Deepak discovers that the woman he took is not his wife Phool but a girl named Pushpa Rani. Phool gets lost at another remote station. Chotu (Satendra Soni), a midget, and Manju Maayi (Chhaya Kadam), an elderly tea stall owner, assist her. Deepak’s family cares for Pushpa and helps her find her real husband. She’s not as she seems. Manohar (Ravi Kishan), a corrupt but trustworthy police inspector, becomes involved in the case and draws surprising conclusions.

Laapataa Ladies Movie Review

Not all chaos breaks out. Setting this rural satire in 2001 prevents technology from stifling the investigation. Nokia phones make luxurious dowry gifts. More specifically, mid-March: The radio announces a Harbhajan Singh hat-trick at Eden Gardens. Story follows a familiar path. While their disparate worlds serve as metaphors for social invisibility and literal absence, the two lost brides of Laapataa Ladies (“Missing Ladies”) find themselves over the next few days. They squeeze fresh-lime soda from life’s lemons. This is no groundbreaking tale. This is good feel-good storytelling. Levity and gravity, commentary and one-liners, milieu and escapism, urban gaze and hinterland candour—the basics are right. Another example of post-pandemic filmmaking that stays still and simple because it knows the average viewer is moving.

In other words, Kiran Rao’s second film is simple. It’s visible from miles away, but a satisfying payoff is old-fashioned. Predictable but effective conflict. An intricate but sweet chaos. Stagey, utopian humor. Phool being ‘adopted’ by a gang of golden-hearted railway misfits or Pushpa slowly schooling but affecting everyone in Deepak’s household (imagine a feminist Raj from Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge) are cliches in the screenplay. Similar to 12th Fail (2023), the film follows formula. When Deepak misses Phool, a corny wedding flashback appears, but it’s enhanced by a sweet moment where he tries to impress her with his English (“I love you”) and dramatic facial expressions. His performative voice and eye sparkle suggest he learned it from a Bollywood film.

Script to Follow

Tonal conviction occurs more often. The film’s progressive Pushpa asks Deepak’s mother (Geeta Agarwal Sharma) about her love of cooking, and the middle-aged woman says, “I suppose women embrace all identities – mother, wife, sister, daughter – except friendships”. She then asks her mother-in-law if they can be friends, humorously deflating the film’s tone. After starting at the station, Phool gains confidence and asks why “women don’t get more opportunities”. The blunt explanation that fear makes women think they need men resembles Manoj Kumar Sharma’s UPSC interview answer in 12th Fail: “If citizens were educated, it would become a problem for the leaders”.

The small details are also sincere and hurt. Blooming—maturation, coming of age—is a theme throughout the film. Phool and Pushpa mean ‘flower’; Deepak means ‘light’ or ‘lamp’; and Phool can’t remember Surajmukhi (sunflower). After learning that Pushpa is ahead in her independence fight, we learn her real name is Jaya (‘victory’), which is part of the national anthem. Early on, a ‘fake bride gang’ is revealed, making the audience and characters doubt Jaya’s morality. Perhaps it’s fitting that deception and villainy surround the woman’s search for agency. Her struggle reflects societal bias: Dreaming girls are man-made nightmares. Although some of the women’s experiences appear overly simplistic and simplistic, the film may be attempting to reclaim reality for fiction. A mistake caused by the practical inconvenience of a ‘ghoonghat’, a veil meant to conceal a woman’s honour and direct their gaze downward, opens their eyes.