'Laapataa Ladies' Review: Sincere Performances, Earnest Screenplay Power Compelling Comedy Drama

‘Laapataa Ladies’ is an engaging comedy-drama that works despite minor shortcomings as its heart is in the right place. It is directed by Kiran Rao.

Laapataa Ladies,

Director: Kiran Rao

Cast: Nitashi Goel, Pratibha Ranta, Sparsh Srivastava, and Ravi Kishan

Rating: 3/5

‘Laapataa Ladies’, which recently premiered on Netflix after a decent box office run, has garnered a fair deal of attention with its intriguing trailer and layered narrative. The comedy drama is directed by Kiran Rao, who previously wielded the microphone for the critically acclaimed ‘Dhobi Ghat’. Her association with the film has further added to the curiosity surrounding it. The fact that Aamir Khan backed ‘Laapataa Ladies’ under Aamir Khan Productions has also worked in its favour. So, did the film live up to the hype?

What’s Laapataa Ladies About?

‘Laapataa Ladies’ revolves around Phool (Nitashi Goel) and Pushpa (Pratibha Ranta), two married women who accidentally get separated from their husbands during a train ride. Following this, they try to adjust to their new realities and wait to return ‘home’. Phool and Pushpa also, find a few new friends and this makes the wait easier. Phool bonds with Manju Mai (Chhaya Kadam), who becomes her mentor. Pushpa. on the other hand, befriends a child. Meanwhile, the narrative takes an unexpected turn when Inspector Shyam Manohar (Ravi Kishan) decides to track Pushpa as he feels she is someone else. This sets the stage for a cat-and-mouse chase and a major revelation. 

This sets the stage for a cat-and-mouse chase and a major revelation. 

Intelligent Screenplay Propels Kiran Rao’s Comedy Drama

‘Laapataa Ladies’ is set in the fictional town of Nirmal Nagar in 2001. The plot explores the intricacies of life in the Hindi heartland through rooted characters and makes a case for women’s empowerment. These aspects alone, make it a commendable effort with a distinct ‘X’ factor. The plot reaches its potential because of the earnest screenplay. Relatable characters and genuinely humorous comic punches are the hallmarks of a compelling comedy drama. ‘Laapataa Ladies’ delivers on both fronts. 

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The writers do a good job of bringing out Phool’s simple aspirations and establishing her as a perfect foil to the more independent Pushpa. Phool’s sequences with Manju are quite touching mainly because of the subdued and natural chemistry between them. Similarly, Pushpa’s scenes with her little friend add depth to her character and the narrative. Additionally, her scenes with Manohar work because of their organic humour. All in all, intelligent writing makes up for the film’s lack of star power by giving actor scope to showcase their abilities. 

That said, ‘Laapataa Ladies’ has a few flaws as well. To begin with, Ravi Kishan’s change of heart towards the end seems all too predictable. Moreover, Pushpa’s tragic backstory isn’t explored properly, which dilutes the impact of the big twist towards the end. Additionally, the Mandakini reference does not add much to the narrative. 

Top-notch Performances Up Film’s Recall Value

Nitashi Goel delivers a beautifully restrained performance and channels the character’s vulnerability with effortless ease. Her reactions in the platform scene feel quite natural. Pratibha Ranta too is a treat to watch on the screen as she tries to play free-spirited and highly ambitious Pushpa with sincerity. Chhaya Kadam too hits the right notes with her intense yet measured performance. Her dialogue about men not being an inseparable part of a woman’s life is unmissable.

Sparsh Srivastava too puts his best foot forward but his work here is not on par with what he did in Jamtara. Ravi Kishan, however, proves to be the scene stealer. The Bhojpuri superstar’s ‘desi’ dialogue delivery packs a punch. Moreover, his lively expressions up the humour quotient of the sequences where he tries to track down Pushpa’s ‘gang’. The rest of the cast serves its purpose.

The Bottomline

The songs don’t add a lot to the narrative. However, the breezy background score ups the quirkiness quotient of the reel action. The other technical aspects, including the editing and cinematographer,  are upto the mark. To sum up, ‘Laapataa Ladies’ is an engaging comedy-drama that works despite minor shortcomings as its heart is in the right place.