While reading Chetan Bhagat’s ‘2 States’ the only thing that kept striking my mind was the fact that this book would someday be adapted into another masala movie which we would waste our money on. Even though I was not exactly pleased with the dramatic book, I somehow lasted till the end.
For all those who have read the novel, the movie is pretty much the same. Right from the IIM setting to the chai-cutting the two couple share – the plot is a downright adaptation of the book. The only change is that a hefty Krish Malhotra (who is Chetan Bhagat himself) is replaced by a well toned Arjun Kapoor whose personality is brought down by his geeky glasses. Really! Couldn’t the makers be a bit more convincing?
For those who haven’t read the story ‘2 States’ is about Krish Malhotra, an aspiring writer who studies at IIM-Ahmedabad. Luckily, he meets the only ‘hot and gori’ Tamilian Ananya Swaminathan (Alia Bhatt) while she is fighting over a ‘bad sambhar’ in the campus canteen. They develop a nice little friendship over studies and chicken. The guy tries to apply the ‘avoid-the-girl’ phenomenon which makes them fall in love, eventually. But in a country like India when you decide to love and marry a girl you need to marry her family as well. There begins the problem. Krish’s incredibly loud Punjabi mother won’t accept the Tamilian Ananya with her insipid family of three and vice versa.
I remember hating Chetan Bhagat’s ‘Three Mistakes of my Life’ but what Abhishek Kapoor did to the film was absolutely applause worthy. Not only did the film surpass the book by miles but it was also one of the best films that came out last year. I wanted something similar to happen with this film. With a talented filmmaker ‘2 States’ could have been a classic rom-com drama if not much. But Abhishek Varman’s screenplay and direction makes the film lesser fun and overly melodramatic. It is something that can only be liked by people who go to cinemas after a decade or so.
The film is not bad. It will please a handful of people, especially those who like films with a North vs South premise, and that of a protagonist who suffers from an alcoholic-father issue. But the healthy premise is killed by a lack of glued screenplay. The movie tries but never comes out of the usual ladai-jhadga, petty jokes and over-simplistic dialogues that are intended to come out as amazing but fuses like a bad Diwali cracker.
The social issues, melodramatic fights and disagreements dominate the latter half of the film to such an extent that the romance between the lead pair never seems to be convincing. The key scenes of the book which should have made the film a better watch fail to ignite any kind of emotion.
The film heavily weighs on the director’s creativity and he doesn’t manage to bring out a strong performance from Alia Bhatt who has proved what she is capable of in her previous film. Arjun Kapoor performs well but only in parts, he neither manages to play a puppy-eyed lover well, nor manages to do justice to the role of a son who is suffering from daddy issues. Shiv Kumar and Revathy as the South Indian parents are effective and subtle, but are again stereotypical in every sense. Amrita Singh as the loud mother is pleasant enough while the only saving grace of the film is the ever so angry drunken father played by Ronit Roy though it maybe because he plays the same character for the second or third time (the first being Udaan). The music is good but the songs do no good to the already lengthy melodramatic drama.
Final Verdict: The protagonist in the film at a point exclaims: ‘Kahaani main hero ho na ho, kahaani hero honi chaiye.’ I wish there was something hero-fic in the movie. Sadly there isn’t much to cheer for!