Anushka Sharma’s second venture as a producer is out. Expectations from the film were high, especially after the success of “NH10”. “Phillauri”, starring Anushka as a ‘good at heart’ ghost, shines in patches. Diljit and Anushka have done complete justice to the characters they were portraying, but a loosely written script plays a spoilsport.
An NRI named Kannan (Suraj Sharma) returns to India from Canada in order to marry his childhood friend Anu (Mehreen Kaur). His marriage with Anu turns into a roller-coaster ride after he is asked to marry a tree as he’s a ‘manglik’. The ghost of Shashi (Anushka) is bound to him as her spirit resides in that tree. The film narrates two parallel love stories, that of Kannan and Anu, Shashi and Roop Lal (Diljit).
The idea of having a friendly ghost is extremely fresh. The ghost roams (or rather floats) around the house. The story has a solid Punjabi punch added to it. The entire setup showcasing a lavish Punjabi wedding with an NRI bridegroom adds fun and frolic to the storyline. The scene portraying the couple’s engagement and ‘sangeet’ aptly portrays a Punjabi family’s love for loud, adrenaline-rushing music. The parts portraying Diljit and Anushka’s love story contain numerous soul-stirring moments. Anushka writes and Diljit sings.The way story juggles between the past and the present makes it a bit difficult for one to understand what exactly is going on. The story loses steam on numerous occasions but succeeds in delivering a reasonably solid punch towards the end.
Anushka Sharma and Diljit Dosanjh have done a great job. Anushka, as the famous poetess of the Punjabi village of Phillaur who writes poetry under the pseudonym ‘Phillauri’, gives us numerous moments filled with joy. Diljit, as the village’s ‘Banjaara gayak’ is no less charming than Anushka. The sheer ease with which Diljit and Anushka have played an ill-fated couple in colonial Punjab is the highlight of the story. The sight of Diljit conversing in Punjabi is pleasing to the ears. Shayaris sound extremely pleasing when Anushka recites them. Suraj Sharma as the confused NRI ‘dulha’ makes us laugh. He looks really scared after he encounters the ghostly Anushka. Mehreen Pirzada as Anu, the bride does reasonably well. She doubts Kannan’s fidelity and his will to marry her. The Dulhan’s Daadi (Grandma) deserves a special mention for her die-hard love for alcohol and old-school choice of songs.
Shashwat Sachdev and Jasleen Royal have churned out some exceptional old-school tunes. The film’s soundtrack is immensely varied. The ‘Punjabi’ flavour given to the soundtrack is immensely rich and flavourful. There’s a song for each and every mood. The song ‘What’s Up’ sung by Mika Singh brings to light the party vibes. The songs ‘Dum-Dum’ and ‘Sahiba’ sung by Romy are an absolute treat for the ears. Both these songs end up bringing out the rich tradition of Punjabi folk music.
The film’s direction is a mixed bag. On one hand, the entire vibe of a “Balle-Balle” Punjabi wedding has been captured with utmost ease, while on the other hand, the toss-up between the two love stories gets a bit confusing at times. The deliberate slowness of the plot is also a drawback. The sepia-tinted flashbacks add originality to the plotline. Some stereotypes prevalent in rural areas have been brought to light with a sense of sincerity. Anushka writes poetry under the pseudonym ‘Phillauri’ because ‘achche ghar ki ladkiyaan gaaya aur likha nahi karti’ (Girls from respectable families don’t sing or write poetry). Diljit is looked down upon by Anushka’s ‘Veerji’ (brother) and is believed to be a kanjar’ (scoundrel) because he sings and drinks. The direction is reasonable but could have gone a notch higher.
“Phillauri” is a decent watch with Anushka and Diljit being the heart and soul of the story. It’s a light-hearted love story with nothing extraordinary. Watch it if you are fond of ‘janam-janam ka pyaar’ (eternal love) and some soul-stirring music.
Overall rating: 3/5