In our Teri Baaton Mein Aisa Uljha Jiya review we talk about the film’s struggle to convey a meaningful message and everything that it refuses to question.
Teri Baaton Mein Aisa Uljha Jiya review: After Shahid Kapoor’s rage and violence on-screen with Kabir Singh, I finally felt a bit refreshed to see him be a part of a rom-com when I saw the trailer. I thought maybe the lover boy era of his that I grew up watching and had a major crush on is finally coming back but after watching the film I’m convinced that’s not happening anytime soon.
The film revolves around Aryan (Shahid Kapoor) who is shown to be this cool and carefree robotic engineer who doesn’t want to get married yet because he hasn’t met a woman who meets his standards. The standards being having commonalities with him and adapting well to his surroundings. When he goes to meet his masi (Dimple Kapadia) in the US who is also a robotics engineer and his boss, he has a meet-cute with her manager Sifra (Kriti Sanon). Sifra helps him settle there. She is a Yes girl through and through. She agrees to everything he says, she cooks for him, flirts with him, she basically becomes his walking shadow. And of course he falls for that. After developing feelings for her and after they hook-up, his masi tells him that she is a robot and he was a part of her experiment. Aryan feels betrayed and comes back home but now, even after knowing that she is a robot, he still can’t let his feelings go. So he tricks his masi to send Sifra to India so her data can be incorporated with situations that can arise here as well. But when he takes her to meet his Indian parivaar, that's when things go haywire.
One thing is for sure, be it a human or a robot, a woman will always be shown her place in Indian society. The fact that Aryan fell so madly in love with Sifra-literally a robot who agrees to everything he says is triggering because it sets an example of how this is what men expect women to be. He loves mansplaining her Hindi slangs and he finds her cute when she says ‘theek hai’ to every command of his. Then comes his khandaan. They are over the moon about the fact that she cooks, cleans, touches their feet and of course agrees to everything they say. It is a sad but accurate portrayal of how only a robot can fulfill the pressures an Indian family puts on their bahu.
You might think, okay, maybe they are trying to show the reality of how women are treated like robots, maybe it’s a metaphor? But no, it’s not. While the film shows Sifra nodding her head to their demands, it also does not question it at all. Not once has Aryan retrospected on the fact that he is in a borderline creepy relationship and I wonder if the fact that he can control her turns him on. None of the family members feel bad about asking her to make lunch for 12 people. Nope there’s no realization or remorse at all. When Sifra behaves strangely to certain Indian traditions that she is unfamiliar with, her reactions are brushed under the carpet by Aryan just by saying that she is from ‘America’ or an ‘orphan’ or just ‘mental’. There’s a scene where he tells his friend, 'She is just a child learning everything about us’. And somehow, I am supposed to believe that he loves her.
At the end, when she malfunctions and starts rebelling against everyone, she is given those viscous looks that any bahu would get if she wouldn’t listen to the elders. It’s funny how then even Aryan no longer wants her. It felt like AI just met a more polished version of Kabir Singh. The film literally has a scene with Shahid Kapoor quarreling with his house help, it’s just not as violent as Kabir Singh so you can digest it.
After his wholesome performance in Rocky aur Rani Kii Prem Kahani, it was confusing to see Dharmendra be a part of this film where his potential is wasted. Kriti Sanon plays her part convincingly as a robot but feels stuck between these caricaturish characters. Shahid Kapoor is funny in very few places but you can’t overlook all the issues he has as a character. The film tries so hard to make him look like the ‘hero’ but it’s so difficult to connect and like him at all. Because of its overall human-robot love story plot, this movie reminds you of the Hollywood film Her (2014) starring Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson. But of course it does not even nearly have the same depth as that film did.
Teri Baaton Mein Aisa Uljha Jiya is as long as its name and for no good reason at all. In the 2 hours and 23 minutes of the film, you desperately anticipate an explanation, a point for all of this, or an impactful social message but there really isn’t one. Directors Amit Joshi and Aradhana Sah try mixing various genres together which just ends up being messy. The film ends abruptly with ‘To Be Continued’ written on the big screen and you are left thinking what more is to be continued here?
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