Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga is perhaps the most mainstream film that talks about same sex relationship in all seriousness. The opening sequence of the film sets the tone of the film, at least for the first half. A big Punjabi wedding in Delhi that Sweety Chaudhary (Sonam Kapoor) is attending with her family. Sweety is oddly disinterested in the wedding proceedings. She is a nice, seemingly traditional girl from Moga, Punjab who is expected to get married to a handsome, rich Punjabi boy preferably settled overseas. To escape her pushy family, Sweety sneaks off to a theatre where she meets a struggling playwright Sahil Mirza (Rajkummar Rao), who falls for her. Madly in love with Sweety, Sahil follows her all the way to Moga.
First half is more of a comic farce where everybody except Sweety assumes Sahil and Sweety are a couple. In Moga, we get to know the characters that make the film so much entertaining. First and foremost is Sweety’s father Balbir Chaudhary (Anil Kapoor), a reluctant industrialist and a closeted chef who is refused entry in the kitchen by his mother (Madhumalti Kapoor). Then there are colorful household helpers like Chaubey (Brijendra Kala) and Billauri (Seema Pahwa). And there’s a refreshing Chatro (Juhi Chawla) who is in the catering business but harbours a deep desire to act.
Midway, the film changes tone and focuses on the same sex relationship in the film. Delving on the loneliness, non-acceptance and ridicule homosexuals face in the society, the film tries it best to bring up the topic in a rather serious manner. But it doesn’t delve too deep or linger too long on the issue itself, moving on rather quickly to a solution that can be described as simplistic at best. Rather than the story, the actors are the life blood of the film. Rajkummar Rao, as always does a fantastic job, but he is playing second fiddle here. Sonam Kapoor is pivotal to the film and her performance is good, though not outstanding. It is Anil Kapoor who steals the limelight. I thought he was bit of a ham in his younger days, but evidently, he has polished his skills immensely over the years. And the energy in his performance is not matched by actors much younger to him. Juhi Chawla, too, is fun to watch.
Ek Ladki ko Dekha… has been bold enough to choose a topic which is definitely not easily marketed. At the same time, however, the film shies from realistically tackling the issue headlong. The film is populated with characters who are saccharine sweet, good at heart with malice towards none. It is a film where long held beliefs are let go after a brief conversation. Suffice to say, this is not in the same league as Fire, but it does have the courage to discuss an issue that Hindi Films have been notoriously uncomfortable with. That step itself is praiseworthy.