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Luka Chuppi paints a new portrait of small-town India

CultureLuka Chuppi paints a new portrait of small-town India

Luka Chuppi, starring Kartik Aaryan and Kriti Sanon, hit the theatres on 1 March and continued its strong run at the box-office for its entire first week. After making Rs 8.01 crore on opening day, the romantic comedy closed its week-one business with earnings of over Rs 50 crore.

Only days ahead of the release Guardian 20 caught up with Luka Chuppi actors and producer Dinesh Vijan to discuss the film, and to understand what has led to this rise we’re witnessing in stories set in small-town India.

Vijan said, “Small town is the big town. Small town is a much larger market these days, in the sense that they represent true India… Now we want stories about us—relatability, relevance, however you word it. If you look within India, you don’t need to look anywhere else. You don’t need to look to the West for inspiration.”

His previous ventures have included successful films like Being Cyrus (2006), Badlapur (2015), Hindi Medium (2017) and Stree (2018) among others. Vijan, with his eye for unconventional stories, is currently enjoying a dream run at the box office. He said that he believes in his instincts when it comes to investing in a script. “I don’t think by nature I am an apprehensive person. I go with my gut. Badlapur, I should have been apprehensive about. Hindi Medium, I should definitely have been apprehensive about. Stree, according to some people, I shouldn’t have made. So if the story resonates with me, I am all up for it. And Luka Chuppi is not just about live-ins, it has more to do with various family dimensions… If in families like the one you see in Luka Chuppi you want to hide something, it can cause a mad comedy of errors. The film also has an angle of living-in with the full family. This is the cleanest film I have made till date, in the sense that you can watch it with your entire family and can also relate with it,” he said.

The film also features Aaryan as a small-town boy, his first such role in an acting career of about seven years. The 28-year-old actor has previously played uber-cool urban characters in films like Pyaar Ka Punchnama(2011), Pyaar Ka Punchnama 2 (2015) and most recently in his first movie to have entered the exclusive 100-crore club, Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety (2018). Speaking on this shift from the flamboyant roles he has done in the past, Aaryan said, “The projects I have done in the past had different worlds and that world had guys who were stuck in a bad relationship. And I didn’t even pick Guddu Shukla [his character in Luka Chuppi] consciously to break any stereotypes. Maybe the only reason was that I liked the script of Luka Chuppi better than the other ones that were being offered to me at that point of time. As an actor, I had a lot to do in this film, from playing a journalist to exploring the family dimensions I haven’t got a chance to explore earlier. I came out of my comfort zone while playing Guddu. Though the genre of Luka Chuppi is the same as that of the other films I have done—comedy—I explored different zones with this film. Earlier, I was doing bromance but now I am doing a romcom.”

On being asked how different is Guddu from the character Sonu, which he portrayed in his last film Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety, Aaryan answered, “They are diametrically opposite. Sonu was flamboyant and heroic. He is somebody who dances on ‘Dil Chori Sada Ho Gaya’ and he was street smart and also had grey shades to him. But Guddu Shukla is a very earnest and honest character. He is from Mathura and speaks in a dialect. This is the first time you will see me doing a dialect in any film. I am not playing a Delhi-based character this time. So I approached Guddu Shukla with freshness. I haven’t experienced before the kind of universe Luka Chuppi has. I play a small-town boy, who is in a live-in relationship while staying with his family.”

Kriti Sanon’s last film was Bareilly Ki Barfi (2017) in which she played Bitti Mishra. The role earned her rave reviews from the critics and audiences alike. In her latest, she is once again portraying the role of a small-town girl, Rashmi Trivedi. About her character, Sanon said, “Rashmi is strong headed and she is someone who is born in Mathura, but she has acquired her education in Delhi. She wants to be a journalist. Because she has studied in Delhi, she is a lot more open as a person. She is more liberal and open-minded. She is someone who will always follow her heart. She is very impulsive and instantly takes decisions, and that is completely opposite from me. I am very indecisive as a person, whereas Rashmi is very quick with her life decisions. But she is very sure about where she wants to be and whom she wants to marry. She wants to know that person in and out, which is why she is the one who suggests the live-in.”

After her previous two roles, Sanon doesn’t want to limit herself to playing characters based in small towns. She said, “Don’t typecast me, please. This is only my second role where I play a character that is from a small town. Bareilly Ki Barfi has opened those doors for me where people now see me as a small-towner. Fortunately, there are many more opportunities that are coming my way now. But there is no conscious decision regarding playing characters from a small town. My process of choosing the film is still the same and I believe in my gut-feeling.”

In the film, Aparshakti Khurana plays Abbas Sheikh, Guddu’s best friend. Talking about his role, he said, “First of all, I have never played a Muslim character. And apart from this, he is an alpha friend who is always ready to help, though his help doesn’t usually work. The world of the film is very nice too. The subject is live-in relationships, which for at least the next five years is going to stay very relevant because it has shock value…”

Directed by Laxman Utekar, Luka Chuppi also stars Pankaj Tripathi, Alka Amin, and Vinay Pathak among others.


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