In the last few decades, both Western & Hindi cinema have acquired mastery over one major feature in their films, regarding the chosen subjects. Where the foreign film-makers have mastered the art of working on new stories, novel plots and fresh ideas constantly, there Indian film-makers have acquired excellence in telling the same story again and again in a new entertaining avatar repeatedly, which indeed is an amazing achievement as I feel (pun intended). Strengthening the same fact, 2 STATES comes up as an another example of those few films, which despite having nothing new to say in its main plotline, still successfully manages to keep you entertained in parts and does have some lovable freshness in its overall execution, thankfully.
No doubt, 2 STATES biggest drawback remains the same old love-story between two diverse regional characters as earlier seen in EK DUJE KE LIYE, BOMBAY and the recent VICKY DONOR too, along with a pinching length unnecessarily stretching to 150+ minutes. Yet the film offers a fresh first hour which remains truly enjoyable with the adorable Alia Bhatt surprising you yet again, well supported by some fabulous small performances from the entire cast. And thus it cannot be pulled down just for the sake of writing a critical review with a negative approach to say the truth. Moreover, the progressive take on the subject certainly puts the movie much ahead than all the previous ones both in terms of love, understanding and sex too, portraying it very realistically as per the new-age casual norms.
For instance, following the western thought process, here too the couple jumps into the bed and gets over with the sex-part quickly in the first 30 minutes itself without any regret, fear or hesitation. In other words, they instantly check that whether there so called love, still remains intact after experiencing the lust & sex part too or not? And since the feeling is still there, the couple rightly decides to get married despite having their big cultural disparities of language and region. The impressive content around the ‘College Campus’ continues till the two families meet and its only after the intermission that too many stretched, avoidable and clichéd sequences regularly hamper the pace of the movie unfortunately. In fact the film keeps dropping and picking up repeatedly till its final scene, resulting in a mixed kind of feeling altogether.
Based on Chetan Bhagat’s bestseller “2 States : The Story of My Marriage” its storyline was clearly revealed in the trailers itself. But as I felt the book/script intelligently followed the famous DDLJ plot too, exploiting it from both the possible perspectives, in its two halves. In more clear words, in the first half it’s the boy winning the girl’s family through his generous acts and post interval it’s the girl winning the boy’s family members with her intelligent gestures as required for their love marriage. Plus the kitchen scene also reminded me the one from Tinnu Anand’s KAALIA featuring Parveen Babi, Asha Parekh and Amitabh Bachchan. So, if the book was really an autobiographical one (as it is said) then that certainly was a very amusing yet filmy time lived by the renowned writer in his young years (although I still doubt that the campus allows this kind of liberty ever for its students).
As an adaptation, director Abhishek Varman stays completely faithful to the book, portraying it well in a marginally entertaining style. Cleverly showing the two distinctive cultures mainly through visuals and regional dialogues, he doesn’t add any comic gimmicks in the narration, as normally seen in such typical subjects. Still in the final hour it does look like as if you are watching (reading) a long sequence of a novel, instead of a crisp scene of a finely scripted film. Therefore a more cruel editing could have given the film a much better shape, making a more solid impact on the viewer undoubtedly.
Representing a Karan Johar production, the repetitive Punjabi wedding sequence is there in 2 STATES too showing Punjabi community in a bad light. Further a mediocre soundtrack can also be stated as another downer in this otherwise fine film based on a stale plot. To point out the bloopers, I would like to add that the phrase “Vai Vai” is not something used in Punjabi expressions and the word “Locha-E-Ulfat” was really awful, mixing the tapori slang with rich Urdu language, carelessly. In fact with each such new-age film having below average music, it seems we are fast losing on to the rich melodious music we were once known for in the past. The film gets a big support from an eye-pleasing cinematography, fine background score and few entertaining dialogues conveying the various emotions aptly. Whereas the director and his writers could have compiled it all in a much shorter format in only 120-125 minutes as required.
Coming to the acting part, its actually the performances which add a lot of freshness in its all seen before plot, saving it from becoming a boring love story clearly. Alia Bhatt remains at the top impressing everyone with another gem of a (light-hearted) performance post HIGHWAY and she is really a delight to watch, especially in the first half, even when she doesn’t look like an authentic girl from the South. Arjun Kapoor certainly shows big signs of improvement and comes up with a bright, effortless performance after some over-the-top acts in his previous films. But I was really wondering why he was using a type-writer for his writing when he very well knew how to use computer and could even make a power-point presentation for his father-in-law to impress him.
Supported by many lovable acts by the rest of the cast, 2 STATES has a flawless Amrita Singh, a fantastic Revathy, a sincere Shiv Subramanyam, an entertaining Achint Kaur and a first rate Ronit Roy who truly shines in the final moments of the film as the caring father.
In all, despite having a seen before storyline, a predictable plot and a painfully lengthy duration, 2 STATES still remains partially enjoyable due to an extremely fresh first hour, a perfect casting and many wonderful small performances deserving to be seen at least once.
However I would like to end the review, addressing the Punjabi community in particular since the film should be a real eye opener for them in an alarming manner. Reason being the way, Punjabi Community and its people have been portrayed in the film as some loud, out-spoken, drunkard, greedy, big dowry-demanding ones (with the most irritating mother-in-laws), believing in fake show-offs in their social lives. And I am not blaming the makers or the writer Chetan Bhagat, for showing them in such a bad light because many people do believe in this kind of character-description only when it comes to the Punjabi community in reality. Whereas the truth is that a Punjabi is supposed to be a completely different person from the one shown in the film, believing in equality, togetherness and HIS will i.e. ‘Almighty’s Raza’ without any fear.
Now why Punjabi’s are being associated with these kinds of characteristics here, is an important question the community needs to think upon seriously!
But for the rest, 2 STATES can easily be rated as a partially entertaining one time watch with the charmingly brilliant Alia Bhatt & the other members of her two diverse families.
Rating : 2.5 + 0.5 / 5 (With the additional 0.5 just for Amrita Singh, Revathy & Ronit Roy)