Turning 30 suffers from an incurable Sex and the City hangover, but it’s neither as smart nor as spunky as that popular television show.
Naina (played by Gul Panag) is two weeks away from her thirtieth birthday when the boyfriend she was looking forward to marrying dumps her for a loaded heiress. Things aren’t much better at work either, where her boss repeatedly promotes a colleague over her. Her two closest girlfriends try to distract her with spa treatments and lingerie shopping outings. A college sweetheart (played by Purab Kohli) shows up out of the blue and wants to rekindle their romance. But Naina can’t stop pining for her ex, whom she makes several desperate and embarrassing attempts to win back.
The film is unintentionally comical in its portrayal of the urban middle-class, and debutant writer-director Alankrita Shrivastava reduces most characters to caricatures because she appears unfamiliar with the world she’s set up and the people who inhabit it. An assembly line of stereotypes surround the protagonist including her happy-to-be-married friend who turns a blind eye to her cheating husband, the bohemian art gallery owner who reveals she’s a lesbian during a game of truth-and-dare, the bisexual copywriter who sleeps with the boss to get the best campaigns, and the photographer ex from London who’s sporting a different scarf around his neck each time we see him.
Turning 30 might have been less frustrating if it weren’t for the amateurish writing. The film is accompanied by a grating voice-over by Naina that’s so banal, you find yourself rolling your eyes each time she whines about her “man-less”, “jobless” life. The dialogues between characters is equally infuriating. When asked by a common friend how he feels about Naina, Purab’s character Jai says: “I can sink into her dimples.” When the lines aren’t corny, they’re plain embarrassing. On showing up at her ex-boyfriend’s engagement, Naina corners his fiancée and says to her: “Rishabh can be quite a pain in the ass. And I mean, literally.”
There is much swearing, and constant talk of sex, sagging breasts and vibrators. When Naina isn’t groaning about ageing, everyone from her domestic help and a masseuse to a colleague in the ladies room is advising her on how to prepare for her thirties.
Gul Panag approaches the film earnestly, but turns it into a charmless take on Bridget Jones’s Diary. Indeed, even Meryl Streep would find it hard to rise above such uninspired material. Purab Kohli, however, gets away unscathed, turning Jai into an eminently likeable fellow despite his puppy-like devotion to the confused protagonist.
The film takes a promising premise and fails to realize its potential because it’s trying too hard to be cool. I’m going with two out of five for writer-director Alankrita Shrivastava’s Turning 30. I think I can safely say I wouldn’t want to meet a girl like Naina when she’s nearing 40!