Being a movie buff, I make it a point to frequent the Cinema Hall every other week; have not been successful these past three weeks though, due to the late-night show timings and ‘housefulls’ during the weekend. Of course, I had wanted to watch the magnum opus dance movie ABCD 2; in terms of the Hollywood movie industry, I prefer spending money on animation films rather than rom-coms and superhero flicks. I am heavily bored of the two latter genres from Hollywood, since I feel that they are repetitive. I also got turned off ever since I had spent my savings on Thor: The Dark World (2013) while studying in India; that too on 3-D. During these past few weekends, I have been getting my movie fix from the multitude of films that are constantly being played on cable, and from those which I had borrowed from friends and roommates while at college.
One of the few Bollywood films which I never get bored of watching is 2 States (2014); not only because I am a Tam-Brahm too like one of the protagonists in the movie, but also because I am huuuuuuuge fan of Chetan Bhagat. For those of you who are not aware, 2 States: The Story of My Marriage (2009) is a novel written by Bhagat which follows the true story of how he met his soulmate, and convinced his parents and future in-laws that they were meant-to-be. Bhagat is definitely one of the most popular Indian novelists, although he does have his fair share of critics (notice how I did not use the adjective ‘constructive’ as a prefix to ‘critics’). Having been a student of literature myself, I used to voice my admiration towards the author and his works several times during class discussions; most of them used to circumvent around how ‘trashy’ Indian pop-fiction had become. I used to keep reminding my class-fellows and professors that the country needs writers like Bhagat; he is after all termed as the writer of the masses. His novels are never high-brow; he focuses on simple language and occurrences that take place in the life of an average Indian male. He tends to mostly address the current post-I.T. scenario; where almost all the individuals are highly educated, and who now strive for recognition, money, and love, in a dynamically conservative environment. Since the narrative setting for the movie has been placed, let me start off with the review.
Krish Malhotra (Arjun Kapoor) is an I.I.M. Ahmedabad student who tries hard not to fall for his pretty classmate, Ananya Swaminathan (Alia Bhatt). The inevitable happens, and soon the two move on from being friends to dorm-room lovers. Their individual differences as a result of their varied cultural upbringing, tends to bring them closer together. Krish hails from a typical Punjabi family, while Ananya is a Tam-Brahm from Chennai. Sharing the bed comes pretty easy to both of them, though they are forced to think about the future once their Graduation Day starts nearing. Krish proposes marriage to Ananya, who is overjoyed that her boyfriend has finally shed his non-committal self behind and is ready to take life seriously. Only after meeting their respective to-be in-laws at the Graduation though, do they realise that getting married in India comes after a series of approvals. It is not enough if the couple is madly in love with each other. Ananya’s family needs to approve of Krish; Krish’s family needs to approve of Ananya; and their respective families need to approve of each other. The duo decide to go through these stages instead of eloping, although the thought of running away does pry into their minds when the going gets tough. After a series of funny and emotional moments with each other’s families, Krish and Ananya are forced to re-consider their relationship, for they seem to have distanced themselves while seeking constant support from the families.
The plot is sure to strike a chord with the audience, for anyone who has ever been through a love marriage in India will be able to empathise with the characters; those of us who have not had the opportunity yet, will be able to sympathise with them, for all of us are well aware of each community’s expectations of the perfect bride/groom. We are not shocked that Krish’s mother seeks a bashfully quiet daughter-in-law who has to be an expert in the kitchen; all the qualities that his fiancée definitely does not possess. We also feel sorry for Krish when Ananya’s parents compare him to another prospective groom who is settled in the States. Like any other comedy about clashing cultures, this one too is laden with stereotypes; some of them make you laugh while others are just downright rude. Acting wise, the entire cast has lived up to the audience’s expectations. Arjun plays the bumbling fool quite earnestly, while Alia is perfect as the spirited girl-next-door (her attempt at Bharathanatyam is a totally different case). Revathy and Amrita Singh trump the rest of the actors, by playing the parts of the opinionated mothers soon to become mother-in-laws. Ronit Roy being a fine actor, has not been given his due role. Krish’s father both in the book and film, is a shadowy figure who can be played by any other actor, for it definitely does not live up to Roy’s prowess. The songs are memorable, taking you from the carefree relationship at college to the serious heartbreak which one could do without.
This film has an expected happy ending, which makes it perfect to watch with family and friends. I remember having left the Cinema Hall with a smile on my face and every time one watches the film, they are reminded that it is quite alright to fight for love.
I give this a 4 out of 5 stars.
Image Courtesy: bollywoodhungama.com