Anushka Sharma’s Clean Slate Films is marking its second production with this week’s release ‘Phillauri’. While Sharma plays the female lead, she’s also seen sharing the screen with Suraj Sharma, who is debuting in the film, and Punjabi superstar Diljit Dosanjh. The first promos suggested a bit of contemporary and a bit of the olden day charm. With Anshai Lal directing the film and the soundtrack already creating waves, does the film actually deliver?
When Kanan (Suraj Sharma) returns from Canada to marry his childhood sweetheart Anu (Mehreen Pirzada), a glitch in his kundli means he has to marry a tree before his real wedding, if he listens to the beliefs of his elders. While doing this, it seems he ends up marrying a lady’s spirit that was in the tree – Shashi. She then gets stuck with him during the days leading up to his wedding. She remembers her life’s story too, in which she was in love with Why has her spirit become alive? Why can’t anyone else see her? Why is Kanan so unsure about marrying Anu?
Lal seems to create a very well balanced world in the film, and it’s difficult not to recognise this. As the story unfolds, and two worlds intertwine, it’s very easy to skip between the two which are almost 100 years apart. Lal achieves a good treatment of the story, with a real authentic feel to the Phillaur portions.
As far as performances go, Anushka is expectedly good as a friendly ghost and a young girl who falls in love against her family’s wishes. She is so effortless that she makes both parts of her character believable even when the story struggles. Suraj, who is making his B-town debut, is also a strong performer as Kanan – he plays a character who seems forever uneasy and non-committal. Although in the overall story, this side of his character does get a little annoying, his performance is commendable for a first film and it remains to be seen how his career now moves forward. Pirzada is also decent as his love interest, although she doesn’t have much impact in the story as such. Dosanjh gives another natural performance; his presence in the film being one that you search for in every scene almost.
It has to be said that the story is definitely not strong throughout the film. There are scenes and incidences where the narrative gets very weak. However, it is definitely Anuska and Dosanjh’s chemistry and bond in the film which is the film’s one strong point. They make a great fresh pairing and seem to be performers on par with each other which is always a treat for the audiences.
The soundtrack is, as mentioned, proving a success. The two songs which particularly stood out were ‘Sahiba’ and ‘Dum Dum’ – both part of the 1910 era part of the film. The whole album moves between the soulful and the modern very well. ‘Naughty Billo’ might’ve been a promotional video but it would’ve been good to see it at the end credits point but, unfortunately, it was completely omitted.
This is a film that many will have been waiting eagerly for. It’s entertaining throughout, albeit a little unnecessary in places. The climax scene has been elongated for no real reason but the one thing that is notable is Anushka and Dosanjh who both excel in their respective roles. Their characters’ romance will touch your heart.
BizAsiaLive.com rating: 3/5