Movie Review: Sanam Teri Kasam (2016)

SanamTeriKasam3 Stars (out of 4)

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To best enjoy Sanam Teri Kasam, watch it while pretending to be a studious Indian teenage girl who has lots of ideas about love but little experience. Sanam Teri Kasam is essentially Twilight without the vampires, and I mean that as a compliment.

Our doomed young lovers first spy each other in the hallway of their apartment building. Tattooed, shirtless Inder (Harshvardhan Rane) makes out with a woman in a skimpy dress. Bespectacled Saru (Mawra Hocane) timidly follows behind her outraged father, who berates the beefcake for his PDA.

Stuff gets crazy real quick. Saru’s younger sister throws a fit because Dad won’t let her get married until Saru does, but no one will marry Saru because she looks like a “frumpy aunty.” Saru goes to Inder for help, but there’s a mix up and he gets injured, and her dad catches her sitting on Inder’s bed in a compromising position.

In this position, Saru should have gone with a better opening line than, “Dad, you were supposed to return tomorrow.” Something like, “I’m helping him change his bandage. Chill.” The primary cause of problems in Sanam Teri Kasam is characters’ reluctance to offer perfectly reasonable explanations for misunderstandings, and this case is no different. Dad declares Saru dead and holds a funeral for her.

Saru’s expulsion from the family ignites Inder the ex-con’s tender side. He goes out of his way to look after Saru, falling in love even as he helps her search for a suitable groom that will get her back in her father’s good graces.

It also triggers the greatest makeover montage of all time. Inder introduces Saru to Mustakeen Bhai, The Makeover King, played by…Vijay Raaz in a lace shirt?! Vijay and his assistants sing and dance to the song “Ek Number,” transforming Saru from nerd to bombshell. The scene is bizarre and magical and worth the price of admission.

All of the song numbers in Sanam Teri Kasam are odd in a good way. When Saru accidentally gets high and dances around the farmer’s market, everyone ignores her and continues shopping — a more realistic approach than the typical Bollywood treatment where bystanders join in, somehow knowing all the lyrics and choreography in advance.

When Inder confesses his love in the title song, stage lights suddenly illuminate the lovers’ faces, an effect that is both hilarious and moving. Teenage me would have loved it.

Despite being insanely dramatic and occasionally hysterical, everything in Sanam Teri Kasam is done with complete sincerity, and that’s why it works. When teenage girls react to even minor problems with the phrase, “My parents are going to kill me,” it’s because they believe it, rational or not. Sanam Teri Kasam is made for those girls, and for those of us who remember what it was like to be one of those girls.


18 thoughts on “Movie Review: Sanam Teri Kasam (2016)

  1. Atiyab

    Interesting Review, I am very confused as to why should I watch this movie, It looks very cheesy to me, I think i will just wait for DVD

    1. Kathy

      It’s up to you, Atiyab. As I said in the review, if you can imagine what it would be like to be a teenage girl watching the film, it’s a lot of fun.

          1. Atiyab

            Hahahah LOL that must be seriously difficult, how did you achieve it?
            By the way i am writing a movie article right now on a bollywood movie. Gulaal Have you watched it??

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  3. Redmirchee

    I for one was prepared to hate this movie and I was mainly watching it for fellow Pakistani Mawra but I was pleasantly surprised. I really got immersed in their sweet over the top romance and found myself tearing up a few times too. The chemistry between the main leads was great. And the acting was good too, not filmi-cheesy.

    1. Kathy

      The acting is really appropriate for the characters and the story. Neither Mawra nor Harshvardhan did a lot to draw attention to themselves, which I mean as a compliment. They showed a lot of potential.

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  5. MalaysianTraveler

    Besides the love story, I think it’s fair to highlight the issues that was subtly raised throughout the movie:
    1. Caste system! In this day and age, Indians still hold on to that belief.
    2. How a girl has to look her best, to impress the “perfect” guy.
    3. Society’s stereotypes. A tattooed ex-con is badly judged and a girl is deemed “dead” to her family for being in company of a guy.
    4. A younger sister can never marry before her elder sister.

    Like it or not, these are all being practiced largely throughout India. It’s sad that many don’t realise that the world would be a better place without such practices.

    1. Kathy

      The movie did a really nice job of establishing the characters by painting a vivid portrait of their families, MT. Saru’s dad is shown as very conservative, even more so than his neighbors. Inder gets away with “wild” behavior because his dad is rich. It’s very grounded in reality.

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