Soham Rockstar Entertainment and Soundrya Production’s Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana (UA) is a love story that goes awfully wrong.

Satyendra Mishra (Rajkumar Rao) and Aarti Shukla (Kriti Kharbanda) live in Uttar Pradesh with their respective families. A marriage proposal for Satyendra goes out from Aarti’s family, and the prospective candidates meet over coffee although they both are awkward with the arrangement. While Satyendra has just got a job of a clerk in a government department, Aarti has just completed her education in Allahabad. The two hit it off in the first meeting and decide to get married.

Satyendra’s mother (Alka Amin) and maternal uncle, Mahesh (Vipin Sharma), are brazen about the fact that they want a fat sum of money as dowry – and they say so in as many words when Aarti’s father, Shyam Sunder Shukla (Govind Namdeo), and Aarti’s maternal uncle, Jogi (Manoj Pahwa), go to meet the Mishras to talk about dowry and other wedding arrangements. Despite finding the demand way beyond his means, Shukla agrees to the proposal as he feels that Satyendra is the best match for his daughter. Shyam Sunder Shukla is very orthodox in his thinking and firmly believes that girls should be married off at the first opportunity. Not for him working girls and all that. But since Aarti is career-minded, she tells Satyendra right in their first meeting that she would want to take up a job after marriage. Satyendra readily agrees.

In the Mishra household, while Sat­yendra’s dad, Jugal Kishore Mishra (K.K. Raina), is forward-thinking, Satyendra’s mother is not just traditional but is also a manipulator and, if one may say so, evil-minded.

Satyendra and Aarti meet during their courtship days and become extremely fond of each other.

To Aarti’s elder married sister, Abha’s (Nayani Dixit) shock, Satyendra’s mother tells her on the day the marriage is to be solemnised that the Mishras would not even dream of having Aarti work in an office.

Even as the baaraat is on its way from Satyendra’s house to Aarti’s house, Aarti gets a happy news that gladdens her heart no end. But this news, coupled with what Abha has been told by Satyendra’s mother, becomes the reason for Aarti to run away from her home before the marriage can be solemnised. To the shock and devastation of Satyendra and his family, the wedding is called off – and the reason given for it is that Aarti had just gotten to know that the Mishras had demanded dowry, which was not acceptable to her. Before running away, Aarti had tried to call Satyendra several times as she loved him immensely but he didn’t hear his cellphone ringing in the din of the baaraat celebrations and music.

What is the good news which Aarti gets and which becomes one of the reasons for her marriage to be called off?

Five years later, Aarti is a respected officer in a government department. Suddenly one day, she is accused of accepting bribe money of Rs. 3 crore. Her case comes before the district magistrate. And who is the district magistrate? It is none other than Satyendra Mishra!

Will Satyendra give Aarti a fair trial? Or will he now seek revenge for Aarti wronging him five years ago? Is Satyendra married or not? Has Aarti gotten married? What happens in Aarti’s bribery case? What happens in the personal lives of Satyendra and Aarti?

Kamal Pandey has written an interesting story which is engaging upto the interval point. The second half, however, goes haywire because it just doesn’t match with the drama of the first half. The light moments and humour prior to the interval are entertaining. Even the drama, and the entire tension-ridden build-up right till the time the wedding is finally called off are very interesting. But Kamal Pandey’s screenplay becomes boring and even illogical after interval. Firstly, the second half of the screenplay looks like a self-defeating exercise because Aarti and her firebrand elder sister, Abha, are shown to be buckling under pressure so much so that Aarti even apologises to Satyendra for having wronged him by calling off the marriage. While some (who had felt that Aarti was right in running away from her marriage five years ago) would feel that she doesn’t owe Satyendra an apology, there would be others (who had felt that Aarti was wrong in calling off the marriage five years ago) who would be justified in thinking that she now owed Satyendra an apology. The audiences get confused at this point because of poor scripting – nowhere has it been clarified by writer Kamal Pandey who the audience should have supported five years ago. Very conveniently, he has left it for the viewers to decide or, in other words, he has left it to the viewers’ imagination. For a commercial film, this is not the best way to write a screenplay. What’s more, Abha’s character is shown to be so strong in the first half but she suddenly becomes a meek spectator after that.

The viewers wonder why Aarti does not tell Satyendra (when he asks her, why she hadn’t at least once taken him into confidence before calling off the marriage) that she, in fact, had tried contacting him. And even without Aarti telling him so, didn’t Sat­yendra see the umpteen missed calls from Aarti on his cellphone during the baaraat procession? Why, the final call which Aarti makes – after running away from home – is even seen by Satyendra on his cellphone before he rejects the call.

Even Aarti’s claim that it was because of her that Satyendra had resolved to become a government officer instead of remaining a government clerk all his life, doesn’t hold much water in the context of things. Resultantly, Aarti’s char­acter becomes weak after interval. Even Satyendra’s villainish character in the second half becomes a bit too much for the audience to digest, especially that section of the audience which had agreed with Aarti’s stance five years ago. For the same reason, Aarti’s remorse in the climax – that she had now understood how it felt when a near and dear one is stabbed in the back – doesn’t create the desired impact for those who were appreciative of her stand five years ago – for, according to them, she hadn’t stabbed Satyendra in the back because she had had a solid reason for doing what she did. The climax is not very entertaining and it is also pretty predictable.

Although the first half is entertaining and enjoyable, its similarity to Badrinath Ki Dulhania makes it appear to be too heavily inspired by that film. The post-interval portion, of course, is not half as good as it ought to have been. Kamal Pandey’s dialogues are very realistic.

Rajkumar Rao shines as Satyendra Mishra. He is outstanding, and the contrast in his personality when he is a government clerk and when he becomes the DM has been brought out excellently by him. Full marks to Rajkumar Rao for doing the role so convincingly and so effectively. Kriti Kharbanda looks glamorous and pretty. She acts with complete conviction. K.K. Raina underplays beautifully. Alka Amin does a splendid job as Satyendra’s manipulative mother. Govind Namdeo deserves distinction marks for enacting the role of Shyam Sunder Shukla so wonderfully. Navni Parihar leaves a fine mark as Aarti’s mother. Nayani Dixit is terrific as Aarti’s elder sister, Abha. But one misses her firebrand avtaar post-interval. Manoj Pahwa makes his presence amply felt with a mature performance. Vipin Sharma is first-rate as Mahesh. Neha Mishra provides lovely support as Neelam Gupta. Neha Agarwal is appropriate as Satyendra’s sister, Poonam. Ajitesh Gupta (as Priyansh) does well. Karanveer Sharma has his moments as Sharad. Abhijeet Singh is very natural in the role of Ranjan. Ashish Kapoor (as builder Kukreja), Gaurav Dwivedi (as officer Saxena), Mahesh Chandra Deva (as the land broker), Sachin Chandra (as the lawyer), Pramod Singh (as the lawyer), Azhar Ali (as officer Yadav) and the rest lend the desired support.

Ratna Sinha’s direction, like the script, is good upto a point. Once the script goes off-track, even she is unable to salvage it with her narration. Music (Anand Raaj Anand, Jam 8, Arko, Raees & Zain-Sam, and Rashid Khan) is appealing. The songs are all good. Lyrics (Shakeel Azmi, Gaurav Krishna Bansal, Arko, Kumaar and Kunaal Verma) are appropriate. Song picturisations (by Ahmed Khan, Umesh Jadhav and Adil Shaikh) are fair. Prasad Sashte’s background music is quite nice. Suresh Beesaveni’s camerawork is good. Production designing (by Pradip Singh and Anup Adhikari) is of a fine standard. Ballu Saluja’s editing is quite alright.

On the whole, Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana has an interesting first half but its dull second half ruins the chances of the film at the box-office. Given its ordinary initial, the film will prove to be a flop fare.

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