is the social fishbowl quality, the sense that nosy neighbours and uncles are examining your choices. This movie treats them with the disregard they deserve. Philip Larkin once wrote about his society, where sexual intercourse began in 1963. Before that, there had only been "A sort of bargaining/a wrangle for the ring/A shame that started at sixteen/And spread to everything." Shuddh Desi Romance is about people on the edge of that miracle in small-town India, where expectations of shame, asymmetries of power in a relationship are being rearranged. It may be fantasy yet, but it's a compelling one.
Gayatri, played by Parineeti Chopra, makes much of living truthfully, measuring her feelings, not fooling herself or anyone else. Not for her the hypocrisies of weddings and marriages. Raghu isn't particularly introspective, but he's easy in his skin. He's curious about Gayatri's past but doesn't brood over it. His questions come out of a brief flash of insecurity, not sexist possessiveness. But for all the hormones in Shuddh Desi Romance, there's also a certain sincerity of feeling. When Gayatri bolts, it is out of vulnerability, the fear of being left, now or in the future. She knows the trauma of having her heart broken for "the third, the fourth time". Its sexual politics are also remarkable. Remember how Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, the '90s-defining romance, made a heavy point of a Hindustani ladki's izzat. When sex between the unmarried lead pair actually made it to a movie like, say, Hum Tum, it was played with equal parts of shame and desire. Shuddh Desi Romance is the only movie I've seen that's libidinous and glad, where both lovers are enthusiastic participants. Though it is interested in how love, sex and marriage appear to many young people these days, it doesn't end up misunderstanding or judging them like, say, Love Aaj Kal or Cocktail, which made shallow assumptions about this hookup generation.
There are other notable points ó he offers to make tea, she says she'll do it if it's only a two-day offer. They live in her house, on her terms. They share chores, and