Chadta (Diljit Dosanjh) is a 29-year-old, small-time photographer from a village. In his quest for the perfect wife, Chadta has said no to many marriage proposals. Consequently, he gains a reputation as an ‘unwilling bachelor’ and soon no-one wants their daughter to marry him.
When the village matchmaker says it’s impossible for Chadta to be married in this lifetime, Chadta refuses to admit defeat and vows to find a wife by the end of the month. When he’s travelling to a wedding photoshoot, Chadta meets Vanjhli (Neeru Bajwa), a wedding coordinator. She’s 31 years old and has sworn not to get married. Chadta instantly falls in love with her although she rejects him many times.
When they next meet, he proposes a trial arrangement: he does the photoshoot she has promised the couple, and he gets to show her what life would be like if she were married to him. By the time the wedding shoot is finished Vanjhli has begun to have feelings for Chadta. Unfortunately, a small misunderstanding means that Chadta thinks he has found freedom and vows to remain a bachelor.
It isn’t until a groom hires Chadta for another wedding and Chadta discovers that Vanjhli is the bride-to-be that he rethinks his decision and tries to win back the love of his life.
Arranged marriages versus marrying for love; Punjabi wedding rituals; class divisions; cultural customs and norms in Indian villages; domestic violence and the role of women in society
Shadaa has some violence. For example:
- Chadta imagines himself beating his future wife with a hose. The sounds of him hitting her are heard, but the beatings aren’t shown. Whenever Chadta sees a trait that he doesn’t like in a woman, he says that he will ‘service her after marriage’.
- Chadta tells Vanjhli that he would have beaten her 36 times in the last four days and later that he would have beaten her 25 times in five days.
- A man threatens to beat up Chadta. The man says that he used to get beaten up and now it’s his turn to bash everyone.
- Vanjhli’s fiancée holds a gun to his head as he teeters on the edge of a roof, begging not to get married. He threatens all the wedding party and visitors with the gun and begins firing shots to make them all go away. No-one is injured.
- People are repeatedly asked whether they want a ‘tight slap’. It seems like this is a slap to the face.
- Wedding guests form a circle around Chadta’s friend and begin to beat and kick him when he tells them that the bride ran away.
Shadaa has some sexual references. For example:
- Chadta’s father says that sometimes boys like boys these days. He suggests that perhaps Chadta is gay.
- Chadta tells Vanjhli’s fiancée that the two of them stayed together as husband and wife during a photo shoot. This information is then passed onto Vanjhli’s parents.
- Chadta brags that he has had marriage proposals for girls as young as 16 years old.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
Shadaa shows some use of substances. For example:
- Some of the characters drink wine and other alcoholic beverages.
- Chadta and his friend seem to be getting a bit drunk while they hang out drinking and discussing girls.
Nudity and sexual activity
Shadaa has some nudity and sexual activity. For example:
- There’s a dance scene where the main female character wears short, tight tops and skinny jeans or short shorts. Her bare midriff is always exposed as she dances provocatively around the men.
- A man provocatively touches a woman’s head while she’s sleeping. She and another woman make a big fuss when they wake up. The man is led away.
- Chadta brings home a doll to whom he pretends to be married. He keeps the doll in his room. When his mother knocks on his door, he says that they could be doing anything and not to disturb them. He soon brings home a baby doll and tells her she has a grandson. The male doll’s naked genitals are exposed while Chadta has the baby ‘wee’ on his mother.
The following products are displayed or used in Shadaa. Instagram is repeatedly referenced in a song, and an Instagram picture frame is shown.
There is some coarse language in Shadaa.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Shadaa is a Punjabi romantic comedy with English subtitles. The plot is rather predictable, but the acting very believable and the vibrant colours and dance sequences are excellent. The movie might lack interest for many younger children but will appeal to fans of Indian movies and mature audiences who speak Punjabi or don’t mind subtitles.
The main messages from this movie are to:
- stay true to your beliefs
- follow your heart
- realise that the course of love doesn’t always run smoothly.
Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include persistence, ingenuity, love and compassion.
This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues like:
- domestic or family violence and the role of women in society
- arranged marriages versus love matches
- self-deceit and manipulation of others.