Friday, April 18, 2014


2 States, Hindi Bollywood Film movie Review, Johnson Thomas, Rating: *  * 1/2 

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2 States(Hindi) Rating: *  * ½ About two lovers striving to bridge the north-south divide through understanding and patience. Abundant in traditional stereotypes, artifice and inconsistencies  yet pleasant and engaging in parts.    

 

Hindi Film Review
Johnson Thomas
Film: 2 States: Love Divided and pre-cured
Cast: Arjun Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Amrita Singh, Ronit Roy, Revathi,Shiv kumar Subramaniam
Director: Abhishek Verman
Rating: *  * ½
 
Chetan Bhagat’s pulp novel ‘2 States’ was basically a leaf out of his own life as an IIM , Ahmedabad student where he met and fell in love with his wife. So it’s an identifiable story for the young generation which is now seeing a steep rise in inter-caste, cross-culture, inter-religion marriages. The couple central to this plot are both Hindus so religion is not really central to their differences. He, Krish Malhotra (Arjun Kapoor) belongs to the typical boisterous Punjabi family while She, Ananya(Alia Bhatt) comes from a highly conservative, reserved Tam-Brahm family. They meet at IIM, Ahmedabad where both are students- Ananya  is an Eco graduate while Krish is from the IIT. Krish and Annaya fall in love, begin a sort of live-in relationship and then proceed towards making it a full-time commitment. But they did not really foresee their respective parents’ objections. Not that there is any force being employed to separate the two, here. The two want to get their families to concede ground to their relationship and eventually accept their permanent togetherness. But that’s easier said than done!

So while the first half concerns itself with getting the two love-birds together, the second half is replete with traditional stereotypes played out with artifice, in order to spell jeopardy in the otherwise smooth relationship. As a consequence, Krish begins seeing a psychological therapist for help. That is in fact the device that first-time Director Abhishek Varman uses to tell us the story at hand. The back and forth cutting is a bit confusing and there are times when the inconsistencies get magnified because of that. Like when Krish admits he is suicidal. He sounds too matter-of-fact and emotionless at that point and is unable to convey the gravity of his dilemma. The divisive interplay also comes across as extremely fake. Since the story is presented as contemporary and set in urban India, the differences in attitude and behavior as per the respective northern and southern cultures depicted here appears untenable. And especially because most of the disengagement between the two families are played out publically. Disagreements on the basis of cultural strictures are expected in such relationships but to humiliate each other without just cause is really not that becoming. Amrita Singh’s Mrs. Malhotra is a little overdone. We can’t figure out her relationship with her husband(Ronit Roy) who appears to have walked in straight out of ‘Udaan’ as the volcano-about-to-erupt father of Krish. 
There is no clear-cut justification for the yawning distance between Mr and Mrs Malhotra , other than a rudimentary dislike of her family(which doesn’t appear to have any character traits that could justify such premeditated exclusion). Even Krish’s relationship with his father , initially at cross-purposes and towards the climax, conciliatory, doesn’t have any clear-cut reasoning other than opportunism.

While the Malhotra family construction is pretty much vague, Ananya’s is much clearer in definition. Her amateur classical vocalist mother (Revathi) spouts Tamil whenever discomfited, while her Bank officer father(Shiv Kumar) is reserved to the point of rudeness. And they make it clear they just can’t bear to share the same space with Krish’s overly loud, conniving and demanding mother.  As for the two young lovers, they create moments of togetherness that are quite becoming. Both Arjun and Alia though sincere in their respective enactments, can’t seem to find a range for their emotions. Their expressions remain very nearly the same throughout.
Abhishek Verman’s script  could have done better with a fresher outlook. As faithful to Bhagat’s book as he could keep it, it tends to trip over on it’s own contradictions. The scene where Ananya handles the last minute dowry demand from Dinky’s soon-to-be-husband, is completely implausible. The intent might have been aspirational but it comes across as just a little too artificial.

The set-up is also a little too unconvincing and convoluted. It’s hard to fathom a once live-in couple, largely  modern in their outlook, actually staying away from public displays of affection and sex  just to keep up appearances in front of their parents. The conviction was simply lacking in this plotting. The music is decent enough, the choreography is ok and the cinematography , quite eye pleasing. There are of course pleasant engaging moments in the film, unfortunately Varman doesn’t make any effort to steer it to any great heights!
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