Tuesday, May 06, 2014

2 States : The parent trap!

Chetan Bhagat has gained worldwide popularity for the witty sense of humour he generates in his novels. His semi-autobiographical work ‘2 States’ which tells the story of his marriage is one of his most popular and well loved books. However Abhishek Varman’s debut directorial attempt in bringing the story onto screen is a classic example why books should not be made into films.

Nothing new

‘2 States’ is about Krish Malhotra, a young Punjabi college lad who falls for fellow IIM college mate, a Tamilian girl called Ananya Swaminathan. After the two overcome some hurdles they decide to spend their life together. However they soon realize that marriage is not simply about boy loves and wants to marry girl and vice versa. It is a much longer and more complicated process where the boy has to win over the girl’s parents and the girl has to woo the boy’s parents. The icing on the cake is that both parties are from different states and communities and cannot stomach each other’s differences.

Krish also has issues with his father. His mother is kind hearted but has a nasty habit of voicing her displeasures in the open. Ananya’s parents are more docile. Her mother is fond of singing while her father is tired of office work.

Cultural differences between communities are often barriers to romantic relationships in Bollywood. Therefore ‘2 States’ offers nothing new to its audience. What could have worked wonders is if the filmmaker had highlighted upon these differences instead of focusing only on Krish’s and Ananya’s plight. Apart from a few passing comments, such incidents are not highlighted in ‘2 States.’ This is simply old wine in new bottle.


The movie is also overlong. We get moments in which almost no action takes place. The editor should have spent more time cutting and trimming the story down to size.

Some of the plus points in the film are in the beauty of is scenes, the songs by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, expert styling by Manish Malhotra, Shiraz Siddique, Natascha Charak and Nikita Mohanty and in its sumptuous production design by Amrita Mahal Nakai. A lot of work has gone into this project along with a lot of money being spend as well. It certainly shows on screen.

Arjun Kapoor is soulless as Krish. He has a wounded puppy dog look plastered on his face in most instances and has a very reserved take on life. One almost wonders what a lively girl like Ananya sees in him as the story proceeds. He is too cowardly to take manly decisions at times.

A new and improved twist

The only winning streak in the film is Alia Bhatt who plays the role of the zesty Tamilian Ananya with ease. She brings about freshness to the film and though she is cute and bubbly on the outside, we see that she can be quite fiery when she is faced with unfairness. She has a smart head on her shoulders and is geared by determination. In fact, at one point, we realize that Krish has gotten this far in almost winning her hand is due to the way in which she persuades him. She even has to rattle him around a bit to get a proposal out of him even though they had been living together for two years at college.

The supporting cast comprises some of the veterans in the industry. Amrita Singh and Ronit Roy make their presence known in their scenes. Revathy is used as an interesting foil for Singh. Shiv Subramaniam enacts his grumpy role well.

Rajkumar Hirani may have struck gold when he loosely adapted his hit ‘3 Idiots’ on Bhagat’s ‘Five Point Someone.’ However Varman was not able to follow his path. While Hirani has expanded and given the tale a new and improved twist, Varman has religiously struck to every detail in the story leaving out its key ingredient in most instances. The movie simply lacks Bhagat’s wit! Ruwini Jayawardana