Phillauri is the second film produced by Anushka Sharma after the violently assertive NH10. This time, Clean Slate Films has come to us with a film in the genre of Fantastic Drama, starring none other than Anushka and Diljit Dosanjh, and co-leads Suraj Sharma and Mehreen Pirzada.
The film opens up in the marriage related nightmares of Suraj’s character, Kanan and proceeds to take us through the marriage events of the Canada-returned Kanan and his long-term girlfriend Anu. Kanan is not really interested in marriage and makes that obvious in every way possible, while still pushing himself through to the marriage day. His girlfriend Anu is a sweet girl who realizes Kanan’s feelings about marriage and struggles between her love for him and his clear unwillingness.
However, the relationship between Kanan and Anu and the impending marriage is only one thread in the movie, and really not the most important although we are made to believe it is in the beginning. The film weaves back and forth between two different stories and two different time frames while incorporating several other notions and events.
The antiquated ritual of freeing a “manglik” from their impending doom by getting them married to a tree and cutting the tree down later is boldly shot down in the film. And it introduces us to the real hero and heroine, Shashi and Phillauri, played by Anushka and Diljit Dosanjh. By the way, the introductory scene of Diljit’s character was just fantastic. His performance was outstanding.
Important spoilers next…do not read if you have not seen the movie yet.
If you watched the trailers, you must have already noticed that Anushka is a ghost in the film. I was quite confused what this film would be about when I noticed this. A story about a ghost can either go really well or really bad, partly depending on how realistic or unrealistic the creators choose to portray the character. I was okay with the way Anusha’s character was displayed in this film. There was, naturally, use of post-production technology, but it was still believable and exciting.
The scenes of Shashi and Phillauri were definitely the best of the entire movie. The story and chemistry between the characters were really moving. I found myself completely invested in their interaction and connection. There is always something powerful in love that is embedded with honor and principle. A love that causes a positive and permanent change in the identity of the person who experiences it. And having such high regard for someone that a single criticism made by them can cause a change in your entire perspective and your priorities in life. These are the aspects that make the love story in Phillauri so beautiful.
And the most important part of the film is most definitely the reference that was made to the Amritsar Massacre and the people who were killed there. At the end of the film, I felt that this truly was what the film was about and I appreciate the way that the writer, Anvita Dutt, was able to expertly weave so many different concepts and notions together to conclude them in this way.
An additional plus of the film was the music, beautiful songs and a beautiful background score.
There were also some downsides to the film, for example the sometimes very sloppy and irritating dialogue delivery of Suraj which drained some of the scenes. Another is the discrepancy in the character of Shashi. I did not really understand how someone of such high principles and standards in things like content of songs and poetry, did not display these principles when she chose to have intimacy before marriage. I am not judging her, I just did not feel that it was consistent behavior for the character. The cliched opposition and later acceptance of the lovers by Shahsi’s brother was unrealistic. The conclusion for the characters of Kanan and Anu was also unrealistic for me, although I can see how witnessing a mesmerizing reunion of two such lovers could do that to people.
Overall, I felt that Phillauri was a delightful watch. I watched Badrinath Ki Dulhania on the same day and although I have great partiality for Alia and really enjoyed that film as well, Phillauri was on another level for me and really left a lasting positive feeling.
Also read, NH10 review.