One assumes that the point this film wants to make about arranged marriages is that though the individuals getting married may be liberal, the arrangers are invariably traditional, even regressive, and that this tension between the makers and the participants has the potential to destroy a marriage.
The parents of Satyendra Mishra and Aarti Shukla, upper caste denizens of the noble state of Uttar Pradesh, have allowed their offspring to meet and get to know each other before they are married. ‘Sattu’ (Rajkummar Rao), is a mild and easy going lad who likes Aarti (Kriti Kharbanda) on their first ‘date’. She makes it clear to him that she likes him too, but since she is academically qualified, she wants to work after marriage. That is her only condition. He agrees to it immediately.
But when the parents meet to work out the details, a different ball game emerges. The boy’s family insist on a huge dowry and say that no woman has every worked in the distinguished Mishra family, or ever will. All this while, the bride and groom are innocent of the backroom haggling going on between the families. They come face to face with the reality of this corrupt marriage industry at the eleventh hour, when the couple are left grappling with their own distraught emotions and the social devastation of their respective clansmen and women.
The rest of the movie is a revenge drama, though how one avenges an atavistic system, prospering for centuries, in which young men and women of marriageable age are part of a business arrangement between their families, is unclear. Instead of challenging this ugly trade, the film perpetuates it by showing what happens five years down the line when Sattu is in a position of power as an IAS Officer in Lucknow. From the misuse of the institution of marriage for commercial purposes, ‘Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana’ makes a shocking and equally regressive transition to the abuse of Government privileges for settling old personal scores and for making good on new resolutions.
So, after a dream run with polished roles in films like ‘Aligarh’, ‘Trapped’, ‘Bareilly Ki Barfi’ and ‘Newton’, actor Rajkummar Rao has finally run aground on this sinking ship. Though he is sincere and charming in the first part of the film, as a young man who falls head over heels in love with the girl arranged for him by his parents, he turns into a satyr, spewing hate, hell and fire in the second. The writer and director have provided him no layers to his personality, and added no shades of grey to the subject he has to work with.
Moreover, the style of the melodrama in ’Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana’ is of 1980s vintage, something that is very difficult to sit through today.