What is the story about?
The world of Jaggi, a carefree young man, is turned upside down when he bumps into Kartika, a swimmer. Jaggi fancies Kartika and tells her about his attraction, but Kartika steadfastly keeps rebuffing him. However, even as they grow close, Kartika tells him she can't be with him as she is engaged to someone else. In order to sabotage her impending wedding, Jaggi decides to illegally travel to Europe, but is caught by security where a diplomat, Gautam, tries to help him. The rest of the story is about whether Jaggi gets reunited with Kartika or not.
Hindi cinema always has this fascination with "epic", larger-than-life love stories where protagonists try every trick in the book--and even go against society and nature--in order to be united with the love of their lives. Unfortunately, in the garb of a progressive first half, Shiddat actually turns out to be a regressive, 90s romantic drama that goes off the rails in the second half. Director Kunal Deshmukh, who made his name with the Jannat franchise for the Bhatts, tries to swing high with this love story that transcends borders, but it resorts to the same old cliches that we have seen in multiple films before. The lengths to which Jaggi will go to for Kartika appear slightly creepy in the first half, but it still goes along with the tenor of the story. In the second half though, the screenplay becomes a trainwreck with a climax that should actually come with a statutory warning. The performances keep you invested, and the soundtrack of the film is actually great, but there's only so much the actors and music can do with a weak story.
As Jaggi, Sunny Kaushal is a riot, and should have many more admirers after this. Cocky and unsure at the same time, Kaushal has an innate charm that works wonders in the first half, but it is his crazed self that takes over the second half and provides some levity in the weak screenplay. Mohit Raina is suitably measured and dignified as Gautam, and you wish he had been given a more complex role to play here. Diana Penty is lovely to watch in a unsuitably-short role as Ira, Gautam's wife. Unfortunately, Radhika Madan's Kartika is so clumsily written that this role easily serves as the first big misstep in her short sparkling career so far. Though Madan tries her best to be spunky and heartfelt here, she is let down by the screenplay.
Music & Other Departments
In the absence of a coherent screenplay in the second half, the music of Shiddat does the heavy lifting here, with Manan Bharadwaj soaring in that resounding title track. Amalendu Chaudhary's camerawork and Sreekar Prasad's editing are also good. You only wish they had a more engaging story to play around with.
The screenplay is weak in the second half, with too many improbable plot points.
Did I enjoy it?
Yes and no.
Do I recommend it?
You can give this a watch if you're a fan of romantic dramas that glorify stalking and impractical scenarios. Also watch this if you're a Sunny Kaushal fan.