Sunday, March 26, 2017

Phillauri-Movie Review

By: Hamza Shafique
Desi Ratings: 2/5 Star

Directed by: Anshai Lal
Produced by: Anushka Sharma, Kamesh Sharma, Fox Star Studios
Written by: Anvita Dutt
Starring: Anushka Sharma, Diljit Dosanjh, Suraj Sharma, Mehreen Pirzada

I guess Bollywood is not capable to handle different subjects whether it’s Mama’s super Boy in “Flying Jutt” or time traveling mathematician in “Baar Baar Dekho”. Every time there is some unique element in the trailer I get excited and then disappointed. Same happened with “Phillauri”. The idea of a ghost from early 1900s stuck in 2017 and how she gets closure to move on enticed me but honestly I am very disappointed, every element of the film felt amateurish even the acting was inconsistent.

Phillauri is the story of Kanan played by Suraj Sharma, who returns from Canada to get married. He is mangalic which as per Hindu beliefs means the bearer of bad luck and to reverse the impact he is required to marry a tree first. No surprises as given in the trailer, Tree was home to Shashi played by Anushka Sharma and now she believes she is married to Kanan. Next 2 hours are about Shashi back story revelation and her finding closure. we also see Kanan adjusting to the idea of getting married after having cold feet just 5 days before the wedding.

First half is entertaining and goes by smoothly with some laugh out loud moments. First half though easy on eyes ends with no solid story development. In Second half story unwinds and we get to know more about the characters and here story starts to drag and film loses the comedy element.

For a film where audience is moved back and forth with in time few things are important and one of them is the common story element/link that the protagonist goes through in both eras and that link is missing. The only link that both stories have is Anushka in her real form and as a ghost which is not enough. Second very important element is the definition of the moments where audience should be taken back in time. Audience should feel the need to see what happens in 1919 and transition between present and past stories should not be forced.  Even the use of historical actual fact in climax is unnecessary from the plot perspective and drags for too long. It seems like director Anshai is inspired by Disney’s Classic where in the end true love removes the curse and imitates it badly for Bollywood audience. If we remove Anushka’s ghost from the film both past and present day stories can go on independently and that lack of connection restrains the audience from connecting with the story.

Music is the biggest disappointment, apart from “Sahiba” rest fails to impress. Dialogues like "Rab ne awaz bakshi hai, awaz nahin, meher hai (God has blessed you with a voice, it’s not voice, it’s the imprint of God)” in trailer, really raise the expectation bar for the male singer and , Romy’s voice behind Diljit sounds good but doesn’t reach the grand level described in the trailer.

I got to know that Diljit Dosanjh refused to take acting workshops before the film and after watching the film, I am forced to say that he should have taken those. His acting lacked intensity and in the movie, he goes from being the Phillaur’s irresponsible womanizer to a one woman man with an ambition to do something meaning full with his life. His original sweetness kept the required play boy sort of menace from surfacing and thus audience couldn’t see his transition. Anushka Sharma on the other hand is decent as usual but screenplay doesn’t give her the opportunity to leave the impact. Suraj Sharma impresses in the first half, his impeccable comic timings enhance the entertainment value of the first half but he also suffers at the hands of bad screenplay clubbed with direction and get monotonous in second half. Rest of the cast is average and doesn’t have much to do apart from being big loud alcoholic Punjabi family (I am tired of Punjabi families being stereotyped like this in Bollywood movies).

Direction of Anshai Lal seems like another out of the mill, full of clich├ęd moments Bollywood film. There was one moment in the film where we had this dark night sequence that goes for a while, it’s so dark that one can hardly notice Anushka’s expression and suddenly we get a full lit morning scene of wedding and this transition literally strained my eyes. Camera was also shaky at times especially in the sequence where Anushka’s brother finds out about her affair. There are so many uncomfortable moments like this and this is something I don’t expect from Bollywood A list movie makers.

Suraj Sharma in the beginning after hearing about his marriage to tree say, “you Joking right” and this is exactly how I felt after watching the film, I go with 2.5 stars for the slightly entertaining first half.

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