You know how they say the book is always better than the film? Well with respect to 2 States the movie and 2 States the book, this is an exception. My apologies to Chetan Bhagat, but the movie is better than the book in this case. The movie tells the story more compactly, with fewer meanderings and sub-plots. It helps that the movie is peopled with good looking actors of course. The movie is engaging, entertaining and tells the story quite competently.
Rating – ***½
Starring – Alia Bhatt, Arjun Kapoor, Amrita Singh, Ronit Roy, Shiv Kumar Subramaniam, Revathy, Sharang Natarajan
Production– Sajid Nadiadwala, Karan Johar (Dharma Productions, Nadiadwala Grandson Entertaiment)
Director – Abhishek Varman
Story – Chetan Bhagat
Music – Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy
2 States Review
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably know the rudiments of the story – about the Punjabi Boy and the Tamilian Girl; more importantly the bumptious Punjabi mother and the disapproving Tamilian parents. So Krish Malhotra and Ananya Swaminathan meet and swiftly fall in lust at IIM Ahmedabad. And they are a modern couple so they also waste no time getting busy between the sheets.
Then at the end of the two year course, they decide to get married. All hunky dory so far; it’s at the convocation (or the conversation as Krish’s mother played by Amrita Singh insists upon calling it) that trouble starts to brew. This is when Krish’s mother and Ananya’s parents (Shiv Kumar Subramaniam and Revathy) declare their hostile disdain for earth other. Adding to the problem is the difficult relationship that Krish has with his dad – a troubled, abusive, alcoholic (Ronit Roy) who has some history of a dishonourable discharge from the army.
The lead couple is delightful – they are good looking, likeable and share some great chemistry. Arjun Kapoor as the devoted lover and as the Punjabi son trying to keep everyone happy is convincing and sympathetic. Alia Bhatt as the feisty, chicken eating Tam Bhram is a tad more difficult to swallow; but she is nevertheless very competent in her role. Both look quite fetching.
All the parents are very well cast and do a very good job. In particular Ronit Roy’s understated but angst ridden performance as Krish’s father Vikram Malhotra was a revelation to someone like me who is unfamiliar with his TV performances.
The underlying social commentary of our deeply ingrained communal prejudices and general disapproval of young people choosing their own spouses is also well brought out. The sense of entitlement that the “ladke wale” so typically feel and exhibit, particularly in North India, is also driven home rather forcefully.
Where 2 States doesn’t quite work
The slightly unconvincing aspects of the film were the narration – the movie starts with Krish announcing to a faceless psychiatrist that he wants to commit suicide. It would have been a useful device had it been fleshed out a little better. The first half of the film was undoubtedly better than the second half – we enjoy seeing the interplay between the forthright girl who sees what she wants and goes after it and the hesitant boy laid low by desire but terrified of rejection.
The second half is a wee bit laboured and the Punjabi wedding scene where Ananya sets everything right is altogether too pat. It was supposed to be the instance that endeared the south Indian girl to her would be in-laws but the scene was so clichéd as to be jarring to the narrative. The movie could have been better had it been about 15 minutes shorter – a few bits of tedium had crept in here and there. The dancing and choreography of the film are rather sub-par too. We the audiences have recently been spoiled by some truly stellar dance feints so this effort was found to be rather less than noteworthy.
The music of 2 States
In general I am a fan of Shankar Ehsaan Loy, but found this latest effort from them to be slightly underwhelming. The music is trendy and preppy and peppy; but rather low on melodic content which is the forte of this composer trio. Though locha-e-ulfat is a cute enough song and the other songs are also perform their function of taking the story forward, they are not exactly memorable and there is no emotional tug there. The pick of the songs is Hulla Re.
This is a well made movie; it makes you laugh and if you’re a bit of an emotional fool, the movie will manage to wring a few tears as well. I cannot quite put my finger on why I did not absolutely love the film, but I do recommend it as a most competent film, all in all – one that entertains and mostly delights.
By – Reena Daruwalla
Images – Courtesy 2 States Facebook Page