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Shokiwala movie review: Ajai Rao and Sanjana Anand make a cute couple in this utterly predictable tale

Directed by debutant Jocky, the film is currently playing in theatres.

  • Prathibha Joy

Last Updated: 08.33 AM, Apr 29, 2022

Shokiwala movie review: Ajai Rao and Sanjana Anand make a cute couple in this utterly predictable tale
Sanjana Anand and Krishna Ajai Rao in a still from the film

Story: Krishna (Ajai Rao) is the local Romeo in his village, whose charms, strangely enough, do not work on anyone, until, of course, he lays eyes on Radha (Sanjana Anand), whose father is the richest man of the locality. Radha is also less than pleased at first with Krishna’s overtures, but it doesn’t take her long to fall for him and defy her family for a life with him. Trouble is, Radha had been promised to her maternal uncle. Can Krishna and Radha build a life together after all?

Review: Shokiwala is director Jocky’s launch vehicle, a film he made after 10 years of hard struggle to learn the craft of filmmaking. Jocky cannot be faulted on that front – he’s presented a vibrant colourful film with most elements one would expect in a commercial film. Problem is that the tale he has used for this is as old as time.

The film, as mentioned earlier, is about Krishna, a local Romeo, who, try as he might, is just not able to get any girl to fall for him. Well, can’t blame them also, because all that Krishna seems to be doing is stalking potential romantic interests and loafing around with his friends. Apparently, girls are meant to find his good looks and attitude irresistible. When he then chances upon the heroine, Radha, he vows to follow her around (read stalk), until she finds him desirable.

After her initial protestations about Krishna’s attention towards her, all that Radha needs is to overhear him get preachy with someone about not ruining a girl’s life. So much so that she is even ready to run away from home for him and swap a life of luxury for one of misery in a one-bedroom house because all that matters is having ‘loved ones’ around.

Shokiwala is a film full of clichés, which, strangely, is then randomly peppered with good lines when you least expect. Like, for instance, when Krishna’s sister refuses to return to her drunkard husband, she makes it abundantly clear that she’s been shouldering much of the responsibility of taking care of their parents, which, ideally, Krishna should have been doing. This is a film that was, apparently, written for an urban audience, set in Bengaluru, which Jocky changed around and gave it a village setting instead. Several of the instances in the narrative feel force-fitted to appeal to that audience. I wonder how the story would have transpired if it were set in urban Bengaluru, after all.

As Krishna, Ajai Rao looks very good and the actor shares good chemistry with Sanjana, but that’s not enough in a film in which a great deal is said about Krishna and Radha having to consummate their marriage with a first night that leads into a dream sequence song that starts with ‘Come Come Come Mam Ma’. That, I guess, says enough about this film.

Verdict: It is astounding just how often stories get recycled without the slightest effort of bringing in some sense of novelty into it. ‘Poor boy loves rich girl and her folks play villain in the tale’ has been done to death, so even the little twist that Jocky brings into this story falls flat. What this film establishes, though, is that Ajai and Sanjana make a good pair, nothing else!

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