Release Date: 18th March 2016
Time: 140 minutes
Director, Writer: Shakun Batra; Co-Writer: Ayesha Devitre Dhillon; Music: Various
Starring: Rishi Kapoor, Rajat Kapoor, Ratna Pathak Shah, Fawad Khan, Sidharth Malhotra, Alia Bhatt, Sukant Goel, Fahim Shaikh
A sensational first half – witty, crazy, natural, superb dialogues, a fast-moving script, great characters, fabulous acting – followed by a second half, which goes in a different direction to what I would’ve preferred. Am not a fan of solving things via tears, melodrama, sorrow – perhaps there is another way, but our directors / writers have yet to get there. Anyways, should be grateful it doesn’t go awry – just in a different direction…
Rajat Kapoor and Ratna Pathak Shah live in idyllic Coonoor but argue like all married couples do, over things that most married couples do. Their sons, Fawad and Sidharth, live in UK and US respectively, are used to seeing their parents argue and also have their own unsettled issues. Fawad’s a successful author, his parent’s pet while Sid is still looking to find his vocation and has a huge chip on his shoulder about not being loved as much as his elder brother. However, what is fascinating is that, while all this may sound sad, morbid, the first half is anything but. Thanks to their grandfather, Rishi Kapoor (I want to grow old like him !) and Alia, who is the wild, zany one in a nearby tea estate.
Rishi Kapoor is endearing and full of life – so much so that he practices falling dead, just for kicks. Other pastimes include watching porn, smoking, weed, shooting his grandkids dead and making sure the hospital staff doesn’t forget him (the scenes with the nurse were excellent). Alia is always pulling someone’s leg – first Sid, then Fawad fall for her pranks and she ensures she always remains happy, sunny despite all around her
The stage is then set for the family drama to heat up in the second half, as secrets tumble out, things come to a head…
It’s been a long time since I saw such beautifully etched characters and crisp, natural dialogues in a Hindi film. The performances were fabulous – Rajat, Rishi were brilliant and Fawad, Alia, Sidharth also display their acting chops – both the men, especially, successfully put to bed all the unfair, unwarranted criticism that they’re just good looking boys who can’t act. Ratna is very good too, doing justice to the role given – her character is not someone who I would be fond of but can understand. Special mention of Sukant Goel who also shines through in a small role, as Sid’s best friend.
The film does hold a mirror up to how most of us live our lives, mired in our first world problems. Unhappiness, we discover, can be caused by so many factors – parental expectations, striving for approval, success, distrust, money issues, the search for love – all can prove to be so corrosive. But equally, isn’t it up to us to simplify things, to chart out our own course – to stop blaming others for our problems. Because, in the end, don’t we all just want to be happy?
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