Anushka Sharma's second production, Phillauri, made its way into the theatres this Friday. It's a light-hearted supernatural movie, that revolves around an NRI boy who gets married to a tree to ward off the evil eye, only for him to find out he married a ghost in the process. It's another matter that the said ghost is quite friendly and good-humoured, and not something out of the Conjuring and The Grudge franchise. Anshai Lal makes his directorial debut with Phillauri, while Anushka Sharma, Diljit Dosanjh and Life of Pi fame Suraj Sharma play the main leads in the movie.
It was with great interest that I went to watch Phillauri in the opening show, but I came out of the theatre disappointed. Sure, the movie or at least the premise had a lot of promise, but the final product was a let down, despite a couple of fun moments and the actors giving their best, especially Anushka Sharma and Suraj Sharma.
Here are 7 factors that prevented Phillauri from replicating the success of Anushkar's first production, the gritty NH 10. Needless to say, SPOILER ALERT!
The movie starts off on a light tone, with Kanan (Suraj Sharma) trying to adjust with the fact that he is about to get married, his overbearing parents and future in-laws, and the USP of getting married to a tree, before he actually gets married to his sweetheart. Even his portions with the ghostly Shashi elicit a couple of chuckles. But then suddenly the movie goes for a somber tone, as both Kanan and Shashi's love stories get down to business, thereby throwing all the fun out of the window. And seriously, the fun part was the best bit about the movie.
The flashback portions suck
The trailer gave us the impression that Shashi's interactions with Kanan would be the crux of the plot. However, we were completely wrong in thinking so. The movie, instead, gave too much focus to her flashback story, involving her love story with Phillauri (Diljit Dosanjh) that happened nearly a century ago. It would have been not much of a problem, if the love story had some emotional gravitas. But not only is the Shashi - Phillauri track predictable and underdeveloped, the two leads doesn't have much of a chemistry between themselves.
Too much lag
Lag had always been an issue for Phillauri right from the first frame. However, the comic portions do manage to distract you away from the flaw. It's only when the things gets serious, and the movie focuses too much on the Shashi - Phillauri track that you feel that time has frozen or something. The interval comes one hour after the movie begins. But post-interval portions never seem to end.
Diljit Dosanjh's weak characterisation
Phillauri's emotional core was supposed to be the love story between Diljith and Anushka's characters. However Diljit, whom we last saw in a terrific turn in Udta Punjab, is saddled with a role that is half-baked at best. We really don't know why he leaves his philandering ways for Shashi. Was that one slap enough? And seriously what's with Anushka Sharma's slap that makes people change their behaviour? First, Salman Khan in Sultan and now Diljit! Even his death doesn't affect us as much as it should really have done.
Phillauri has a few songs, but despite the use of Sufi elements, not all of them manage to make an impact. Except for Duma Dum, all the other songs turn out to be unnecessary speed-breakers to a screenplay, already suffering from jetlag.
I always hate it when movies use a real-life tragedy to push their story ahead. Remember the furore over how Robert Pattinson's Remember Me used the World Trade Center attack to give the movie a conclusion? The same treatment should be given to Phillauri as well. Not only is the climax dismal, and filled with average visual effects, the usage of one of the most saddening tragedies to enhance the melodrama of the conclusion is just not acceptable. I am not spoiling it for you, but you will realise what I am saying once you have seen the movie.
Have you seen Phillauri? How did you find the movie?
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