Phillauri Film Review: Neither Funny Nor Formidable

| March 25, 2017 | 0 Comments

A big fat Punjabi wedding that was first explored in DDLJ and then given an urban tadka in Mosoon wedding, thereafter spawning many me-too’s has a potential for all the possible emotions to  be explored and relationships dissected.Its another matter that anything now being shown gives you a sense of déjà vu.

Phillauri starts off milking all the stereotypes by way of incidents, characerisations, behaviours of Puppy families (the high end Punjabi middle classe families) where an NRI Kanan returning from kannaada (Canada) is getting married off to his childhood sweetheart Anu (debutante Mehreen Peerzada). Instead he is first married off to a tree as he is a ‘ghor maanglik, as per his astrological chart.

If you think it is somewhat of an aberration and superstition, just to remind you, the heartthrob Aishwarya Rai’s marriage with a tree prior to tying the knot with Abhishek Bachchan was in news a decade ago.

The tale spins on its tail as a ghost of a bride Shashi aka Anushka Sharma comes to stay with Kanan as he has married it since it was living in the tree. The mayhem ensues for Kanan as he fights off his own demons of insecurity, confusion and being unsure of his readiness to take the plunge. Small mercies, the ghost is a friendly one, hence scope for humour and some funny situations.

Shashi has her own love story that goes almost hundred years back with her singer beau Roop Phillauri aka Diljit Dosanjh. How they started their courtship and how their marriage could not take place forms the long,and at times yawning flashbacks in this back-and-forth tale.

As if one marriage was not enough, its two marriages separated by hundred years, and that too of two different couples that makes for this one for one free combo hard to assimilate.

Anvita Dutt’s premise had potential and has similarities to Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride (though the makers deny it brazenly,)the screenplay in first half scores with its fun quotient.Its in the second half the movie derails big time and gets into lot of repetition, melodrama and maudlin stuff. It is able to cover some lost ground towards the end with a convincing and fresh reason for why Diljit Dosanjh and Anushka Sharma could not consummate their marriage.

Period details of circa 1919 are contrived. I wonder how come  the heartland of Punjab was then also afflicted with the menace of bottle. Every grown up male is seen to be carrying a bottle of liquor in his hands and drinking neat.

Cut to year 2017,all members of Punjabi families gathered for a wedding have penchant for liquor, including the alcoholic grandmother who flaunts that she starts drinking by nine o’ clock morning and reminds her son ‘don’t forget you too are a product of these two pegs’. No wonder Punjab is now fighting the drug abuse menace. What with such parental guidance, how you expect the children to do otherwise!

All this rant can be brushed in the name of humour. Agreed. But where was the humour to cover for such an aberration in a love-story of Anushka-Diljit in early nineteenth century, ! Such weird things, convenient screenplay ploys and prolonged happenings leave you fatigued.

Debutante Anshai Lal’s narrative does not have any layering but his craft is in place. He has handled the funny portions much more efficiently. VFX are of high standards. Music is the backbone of this project but it fails to take you to heights say, like the music of the movie Rockstar!

Anushka Sharma and Diljit Dosanjh have acted their roles. That’s it. Its Suraj Sharma and debutante Meenaz Peerzada who impress you with their histrionics.

Coming from the production house of Anushka Sharma, thank Ghosts, Phillauri is not indulgent towards Anushka Sharma but neither does it is entertaining or meaningful enough to overwhelm you.To add to your woes is this nagging feeling whether its a Punjabi film in Hindi or Hindi film in Punjabi.Whatever, Phillauri fails to be either funny or formidable.


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Category: Reviews

About the Author ()

Dhieraj Mohan is Hindi cinema's keen observer. With earnest interest in its dynamics and constantly changing milieu he revels in dwelling on the discrepancies, idiosyncrasies,contradictions,masala and the formula that defines Bollywood.He is a poet and a screenwriter too,who simply adores Hindi cinema's chameleon like traits.

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