Anushka Sharma, Diljit Dosanjh, Suraj Sharma, Mehrene Pirzada
Anushka Sharma, Karnesh Sharma, Fox Studios
We were sold the moment we saw Diljit Dosanjh and Anushka Sharma in sepia tones with that lilting background score; of course there was the fact that PHILLAURI marks yet another attempt by Sharma to tell people she is worth more and she isn’t waiting for anyone to give it to her, making the film a statement even before it hit the theatres. The charm of a period film, the grit of a woman out to prove herself in a man’s world plus the fact that Anushka had hit gold the very first time she attempted to produce, made PHILLAURI an A-lister film with great promise. The question now remains did the film deliver?
Kanan (Suraj Sharma) has flown down from Canada to marry his high-school sweetheart. He is the stereotypical confused Indian, who can no longer relate to the bizarre customs but doesn’t want to hurt anyone’s sensibilities either. To cut the long story short, his horoscope spells doom and to amend the fault in his stars, he has to marry a tree. According to the custom, the tree has to be cut down post the ‘wedding’!
To Kanan’s dismay, the bizarre ritual leads to more horror than his horoscope could have predicted. He ends up being stalked by a gorgeous, iridescent ghost who now claims to be his posthumously married wife. Confusing? Well, that’s exactly how Kanan feels; worse, his fiance Anu (Mehrene) doesn’t seem to be helping the matters with all her questions and her doubts. As the story unfolds, we are given glimpses of what Shashi’s life and love (Diljit Dosanjh who we assume is Phillauri) has been while she lived. Slowly, her life as the woman who lived in pre-partition India comes to the fore.
The narrative tries drawing parallels between love then and now, and also point out the changes that the time has brought. But for those who are looking for a heart thumping romance, it comes only sparingly. There is a lot of promise in the chemistry between Diljit and Anushka, but it is not exploited to the fullest. The sweet little love-story of Suraj and Mehrene too has some adorable moments but not something that will make you want to go back to the theatres to see it again.
Anshai’s strengths lie in creating some sweet moments, touching issues with sensitivity and yet he could have done with more time to round off the edges of the script. While the cinematography and music are the strengths of the film, the CG leaves room for more… We would have loved to have a little more of Diljit too, in the film. And a little less of the forced humour that gets tedious.
It is of course, all Anushka through the film. Anushka does her vivacious spirit bit just like she does everything else – with finesse. Her character oscillates from being a lyrical lover to an exasperated spirit with ease, so much so that it does feel like she hasn’t been pushed at all. When you are being a flag-bearer of a renaissance in Bollywood, you really need to ensure that you are doing everything right. There is no room for half-baked and unfortunately, PHILLAURI seems like someone got distracted during the making of the film. While we applaud the work, salute the attempt, and love her courage – the charm doesn’t live through the whole 2hours 20mins. All those who thrive for simple moments of romance should give it a fair try though.