Ginny Weds Sunny Has Problematic Clichés But Makes An Important Point About Parent-Child Relationships
I’m someone who believes that she needs to watch everything that Vikrant Massey stars in. I also am a huge sucker for rom-coms, and will gobble up anything, from classy ones like Crazy Stupid Love to the entire catalogue of Hallmark holiday movies. Bollywood, I’ll admit, doesn’t have much luck in that department. You can imagine why…. If we thought the sexist tropes in Hollywood rom-coms were an issue, Bollywood ones would be downright outrageous. *coughs* Badrinath Ki Dulhaniya *coughs* And yet, we sometimes get lucky with a Band Baaja Baaraat, Dil Dhadakne Do, Bareilly Ki Barfi, Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan or a Love Per Square Foot. Unfortunately, neither the love for the genre, nor its cast of Massey, Yami Gautam and Ayesha Raza could salvage Netflix’s Ginny Weds Sunny for me.
Vikrant Massey is Sunny aka Satnam Sethi, a chef who wants to open his own restaurant. His cool Pops, who sasses in Punjabi and lets Sunny’s mom sip from his whiskey tumbler, tells him to get married first. Daddy would rather trust Sunny’s teenage sister than Sunny. Basically, Uncleji doesn’t trust Sunny puttar’s temperament, and thinks a girl will be a good influence on him. Handle him and his business. Case #8769431425 of society wanting women to be rehab centres for men. Sigh. I kinda felt bad for Sunny, because dude genuinely wanted to focus on his career. Instead, he’s being asked to get married. If this feels like some attempt at reversing gender tropes for woke effect, it probably is.
On the other end is Yami Gautam as Ginny, whose real name is Princess Simran Juneja (no kidding). She is Bollywood’s ‘modern girl’, which means…. She works in an insurance firm, has killer #OOTDs (I loved Yami’s outfits in the film) and is in a complicated relationship with her ex-boyfriend. They both remain friends so that their friends don’t have to choose between them. Kaafi generous, but saving his name as ‘Confusion’ on your phone is just overkill, Gins. Which is how I’d describe Ginny’s character.
You could say Ginny’s mom, played by Ayesha Raza, is a Delhi iteration of Sima Taparia, a matchmaker. But I thought Sima Auntie at least got basic compatibility right. Ginny’s mom fails at finding a decent match for her own daughter. She doesn’t even know what or who her daughter wants. She’s a cool desi mom. Which means, she knows about her daughter’s ‘Confusion’ but still brings in rishtas for her. When she’s approached by Sunny’s father to find a rishta for his son, she decides to ‘Hitch’ his wagon to her daughter’s.
Sunny already had a crush on Ginny in school. And now, Auntie becomes the Will Smith to Sunny’s Kevin James, coaching him to pataao Ginny. What thus ensues is every cliché you’ve seen, replete with a wedding scene climax, a last-minute bride switch, and a monologue from the lovers about how they’ve been utter fools, and their parents, even bigger ones.
Sigh. Sigh. Sigh.
Also Read: 5 Thoughts I Had While Watching Ginny Weds Sunny Trailer: Yami Gautam, Vikrant Massey Starrer Pits Indian Matchmaking Against Cheesy Bollywood Love!
See, I am no filmmaker. But I am a writer. And if I were to write a romance, the first thing I would do is try to find out what my target audience finds romantic. If this were the 80s or 90s, the answer would be the problematic tropes that we’ve now grown to hate. Sanctioned stalking. Last minute changes in the bride and groom at a wedding. Toxic relationships. You know, the works? But I’d really like to think that our audience, at least the generation that a film like Ginny Weds Sunny is aimed at, is trying hard to rise above these clichés. They’re woke, or at least enough to realise that bhaiyya, aise toh koi na milne wala.
And for those who haven’t, there’s enough examples out there about content creators being called out for glorifying toxic behaviour as a way to scoring the girl/guy (Read: Sandeep Reddy Vanga for Kabir Singh). When after all of this, filmmakers still invest in a story that plays by the same old rules, it makes me want to bang my head against the wall. Really, REALLY? How does a guy/girl do all this and still get a happy ending? That was me through most parts of Ginny Weds Sunny. And not even Yami Gautam’s outfits or Vikrant Massey’s cuteness could make me get over it.
For starters, I’mma spell it out for all future filmmakers, in caps: WOMEN DON’T GET ATTRACTED TO STALKERS FFS! If I find a guy bumping into me at places he has no business being at, I’m going to lodge a police complaint, not invite him for coffee. Next, I don’t get why, when the shit hits the fan, don’t people communicate clearly? Why are things left unsaid at a time when things should be made clear? When Ginny’s ex came to propose, why didn’t she ask for time? Why didn’t Sunny, despite being insulted by Ginny, or she being kept in the dark by Sunny, still want to get back to each other? At this point, I don’t even think it’s about love. Sunny just likes Ginny because she’s probably the prettiest chick he’s met. And Ginny likes Sunny because he worships at her feet.
Also Read: 5 Thoughts I Had While Watching Laxmmi Bomb Trailer. Mainly Ki, Akshay Kumar’s Trans Act Feels Caricaturish, No?
That’s not even the biggest plot hole though. The whole thing about Sunny being hell bent on ruining another girl’s life by tricking her into a loveless marriage while he loves Ginny is pathetic. Didn’t he just lose the girl he loved because he was a fraud? Why do it again to another girl? In the climax, Ginny and Sunny go to Sunny’s to-be-father-in-law to convince him to cancel the wedding. He drags Sunny out of the room and to the mandap while Ginny is literally shut inside by the father-in-law’s gun-trotting henchmen. The next thing you know, a bride switch has happened, with Ginny finding a way out of the guarded room, locating the bride, convincing her, getting her bridal hair, makeup and outfit done, and making it in time for the pheras! WHAT IS THIS TIME-WARPING LOGIC? Who lets out the girl who is trying to ruin the wedding?
But but but. There’s one thing that the climax, and I guess the whole movie got right. And it’s possibly my biggest takeaway from the film. One of the first thoughts I had while watching the trailer for Ginny Weds Sunny was the nature of Ginny’s relationship with her mother, and Sunny’s with his parents. Even from the trailer, you could tell that they were cool, ‘modern’ Punjabi parents (reiterated ad nauseam through exposition). They would be easy to talk to, you know? They’d understand. Especially, Ginny’s mom. And yet, where it really mattered, these cool modern parents had absolutely no idea of who their children were.
Ginny’s mom has no idea that her daughter drinks and smokes up, which is okay, digestible. But the fact that she has no clue about the kind of men that her daughter likes, being a matchmaker and so close to her daughter, is something worth giving a thought to. What would’ve stopped Ginny from sitting down with her mother and openly talking to her about her hopes and dreams, likes and dislikes, about the neighbour who she had her first kiss with but who her mom thought was like a brother to Ginny! When you see the arranged marriage rishta that Ginny’s mom lines up for her, you’re stumped! Is she a clueless mother or a bad matchmaker, or both? How does she allow a guy she barely knows to stalk her daughter like that?
Even Sunny’s parents seem very hands-off to me. They egg him on for the plan to get with Ginny, and you wonder if they didn’t know how wrong this whole thing was. Reminded me of the movie Dulhan Hum Le Jayenge, where Salman Khan’s family does the same thing to him, encouraging him to stalk Karisma Kapoor all across Europe, even stage some weird kidnapping shit, without telling her that he knows of her and intends to marry her! Would they be okay if someone pursued their daughter in this fashion? What’s worse is, their heartbroken son refuses to take time to heal and instead wants to go on a self-destructive binge by marrying another girl he doesn’t even like. And they let him! I get letting him make his own choices, but how about talking to him and making him understand right from wrong?
Honestly, we deserve a better class of rom-coms from Bollywood. Ones that portray a little common sense, logic, and good, progressive values, as opposed to the same old clichés that hurt audience intelligence, or are too lazy to inspire thought.