Shelly Dhar Chopra’s Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga could’ve easily been just another love story set in just another small town, but it isn’t. Apart from Chopra, who co-wrote and directed the film, writer Gazal Dhaliwal deserves to be lauded for delivering a film that was long overdue in Bollywood.
Sonam Kapoor’s Sweety, our queer protagonist, is the “true love dhundhne wali” type of girl. She dreams of one day being in a relationship so full of love and passion that it lasts an entire lifetime. Moreover, by the end of her journey of self-acceptance, she is no longer afraid to gain anyone’s approval; not even her beloved father’s who she calls out for failing her instead of it being the other way round.
But, the best part about the film is that it doesn’t use it’s queer protagonist as the only crutch to limp to the finish line. The film single-handedly deals with subjects like gendered stereotypes, religious bigotry, growing up queer, being bullied for simply being different, self-acceptance, twilight romance, as well as platonic friendships.
Anil Kapoor is a firecracker as a bigshot garment manufacturer – referred to as Moga ke Ambani – who gave up his dream to become a cook just because his mother had her own sexist biases about men strictly belonging outside of the kitchen. Juhi Chawla as a caterer with her own Bollywood aspirations is funny AF, and together the two are just adorable.
Rajkummar Rao gives yet another winning performance as a playwright who helps Sweety come out to her family and the world. Along with a solid cast consisting of Seema Pahwa, Brijendra Kala, Abhishek, Madhumalti Kapoor as Gifty Beeji – the film is funny and moving in equal measures.
In the name of Ray, to know what Kulture Didi thought of this coming of age saga, watch the video!