Directed By: Anshai Lal
Produced By: Anushka Sharma, Karnesh Sharma, Fox Star Studios
Cast: Anushka Sharma, Diljit Dosanjh, Suraj Sharma, Mehreen Pirzada
Duration: 2 hours 18 mins
Bollywood Bubble Rating: 2.5/5
Right in 2017, it takes you courage to form a convincing story around a ghost. Sitting inside the theatre, I was getting impatient for Anushka Sharma to arrive. The story flows as a delicious blend of humour and emotion and the friendly bhoot Shashi (Anushka Sharma) makes a comic entry too. I’ve started thinking what all I shall write in my ‘Phillauri’ movie review. Meanwhile, interval comes and goes and takes away whatever density was built!
‘Phillauri’ kickstarts as Kanan (Suraj Sharma) returns to India from Canada to marry his childhood love Annu (Mehreen Pirzada). Kanan, however, is a Manglik. For those uninitiated, it is a person with faulty position of Mars in his horoscope, as per astrology. Being the perfect Indian parents, Kanan’s mom-dad get him married to a tree as per an astrological solution. In that tree resides Anushka, the pretty and friendly ghost. So basically, Kanan was supposed to be married to a woman but is first married to a tree. But wait, there’s a woman in that tree so it’s accidentally a woman (or a bhootwoman) as well! The hilarious confusion makes for a chucklesome first half.
Anushka certainly has a history to share. That can be traced back to rural Punjab in the early 19th century, wherein Shashi, a poet in secrecy, falls in love with Rup Lal Phillauri, a singer. Phillauri gives melody to Shashi’s phrases and creates songs. The year is 1919 and the spirit of independence is building up. One day, Phillauri leaves for Jalandhar to earn his name as a celebrated singer; but never returns.
The screenplay goes back and comes back to and from two different periods. It could go wrong (‘Baar Baar Dekho’ alert), but it doesn’t. The shifts are swift. Rather, the major mess up happens in the second half as we are slowly in proximity to the climax. 98 years after her death, Shashi still doesn’t know why her beloved never returned. The entire span of her discovering the truth is dragged.
Next nail on the coffin is the ending. I was on my toes to catch the friendly ghost’s antics but never did I envisage, it could become a belated love story of ghosts! What was supposed to be an enormously emotional event, turned out funny. I ground my teeth as the audience around me laughed!
It saddens me how ‘Phillauri’ rather came across as cliched at the end. It fearures fantastic performance from Suraj Sharma and good enough of that from Anushka Sharma and Diljit Dosanjh. Mehreen needs to do something with her swollen baby-expressions, either angry or happy; and she is good to go. Beautiful music by Shaswat Sachdev and impactful background music by Sameer Uddin have uplifted the romance, tragedy and humour to many extents. But why a ghost love story at the end?
The next failure comes as the makers’ inability to bank upon the Jalianwala Bagh massacre (1919), which adds important angles to the story. Historical events had a crucial part to share, but were conveniently overlooked.
Although, it is undeniable that ‘Phillauri’ is a combination of many heart-warming emotions. There’s love, there’s heartbreak, there’s confusion, there’s this longing for togetherness, there’s the pang of separation. We wish Anshai Lal didn’t forcibly attempt to make it a perfectly happy ending. After all, life is never just happy.
The films deserves to be watched once for sure. Rest, your choice!