Tiku Weds Sheru is a disjointed collection of scenes attempting to serve as a skewering of Hindi-film culture and the obstacles put in the way of outsiders. As a satire, it falls flat.
Sheru (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) is a part-time background actor who aspires to stardom. He blew a bunch of money to make an independent movie that never happened, and his main job as a pimp doesn’t pay enough to get him out of debt. Sheru jumps at the chance to marry a woman whose family offers a lot of money to any suitor willing to take on an “ill-tempered” bride.
The only time the bride in question, Tiku (newcomer Avneet Kaur), shows her temper is when she realizes her family is trying to marry her to a man almost 30 years her senior. (Kaur is 21, Siddiqui is 49.) The price she pays for objecting is to be slapped by her brother and beaten with a belt. She agrees to the marriage in order to get away from her abusive family and to be closer to her Mumbai-based boyfriend.
The boyfriend bails when Tiku learns that she’s pregnant. Her attempt to run away results in Sheru slapping her as well before deciding to get out of the pimping business and raise Tiku’s baby as his own.
What kind of straitlaced job does Sheru get instead? Drug dealing. All the while, he lies to Tiku and pretends to be a film financier who’s temporarily a little short on cash.
There’s probably an internal logic to why the characters act the way they do and why certain actions follow one another, but only writer-director Sai Kabir understands what that internal logic is.* This was a problem with his 2014 film Revolver Rani, too. Kabir doesn’t give his audience a reason to get invested in his characters, and there’s no real moral to the story. Is this satire or just messy people in a messy situation doing messy things?
Some of the disjointedness comes from what is likely a case of reverse engineering on Kabir’s part. It feels as though he wanted to include certain scenes in the movie and came up with the narrative justification for them later, regardless if that justification makes sense. Take for example the climax, in which Sheru appears in drag to rescue Tiku during a stage performance. Sheru’s convoluted explanation for his costume is that a certain gay politician (who hit on Sheru earlier) will be in attendance, so naturally he’d rather watch men perform, hence Sheru must appear in drag in order to get the politician’s attention. Huh?
Even individual scenes are choppy and hard to follow. The frequent, fast edits during a Latin dance number are so disorienting that the scene should’ve been left out of the movie entirely.
Tiku Weds Sheru is the first production by Manikarnika Films, the company established by Kangana Ranaut (who starred in Kabir’s Revolver Rani). Ranaut has often touted her outsider status within the Hindi-film industry, so Tiku Weds Sheru is certainly supposed to offer some kind of critique of the industry. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have anything coherent to say.
*If this article at Bollywood Hungama is to be believed, Sai Kabir may not be solely responsible for Tiku Weds Sheru‘s quality problems. Multiple sources told Bollywood Hungama that Kangana Ranaut rewrote and reorganized much of the screenplay, resulting in a film that Kabir wasn’t happy with. This would not be the first time Ranaut interfered with her director.
- Tiku Weds Sheru at Wikipedia
- Tiku Weds Sheru at IMDb
- Bollywood Hungama article on the making of Tiku Weds Sheru
- My review of Revolver Rani
- My review of Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi
[Disclaimer: my Amazon links include an affiliate tag, and I may earn a commission on purchases made via those links. Thanks for helping to support this website!]