It’s the second by producer Anushka Sharma and just like the expectations, Phillauri is a very earnest attempt at showing a love story with a difference. Yes, it’s the difference that matters- difference in story telling, difference in narrative, and difference in the overall theme.
Set in a town named Phillaur in Punjab, the plot concerns Kanan (Suraj Sharma), an NRI who has just landed in India to get married to his childhood sweetheart Anu (Mehreen Pirzada). Since he’s a heavy manglik, he needs to marry a tree to get off from the ‘dosh’ before he could marry the girl. The tree is possessed by the ghost of Shashi (Anushka Sharma) who as a result of Kanan’s bondage with tree comes along with him to his house, though herself fully confused. What happens thereafter with Kanan is what the entire story is about.
Debutant director Anshai Lal leaves no stone un-turned to make his mark and tell the industry that he’s here to stay- with near perfect direction for such kind of a genre. The film is symbolic, depicts different shades of love, and moves on a right path. While the trailers suggested it to be a story full of humor involving a friendly ghost, its much more than that- the biggest beauty of the film. However, the same beauty will appeal to only one particular section of society. There’s one class that might feel alienated and rub the film off by calling it humbug. This class may feel bored with the angle of the ghost and how the entire story shapes up. All others who are particularly emotional will like the film for its story, and more importantly the way in which it unfolds in the climax.
The story is superbly original and unique bringing in fine nuances of emotions, drama, and humor making it an interesting watch. With peculiar references to cultural practices in the society, the film excels on the screenplay front to an extent. The film at various junctures shifts from flashbacks to present, at times narrating it in a parallel manner- an impressive visual element.
Having said that, the 137 mins film doesn’t offer much in the first half. Yes it’s very entertaining- thanks to impeccable Suraj Sharma- but it doesn’t have much to aid to the plot other than establishing the plot. Its the second half that’s the soul of the film.
Anushka Sharma is simple yet attractive, more in her back story rather than her ghost avatar. Diljit Dosanjh as Roop Lal, starring opposite Anushka in the flashback is indeed first rate. He’s good in what he does, looks charming and gives a freshness to the frame whenever he appears. The fact that he looks like a boy next door does wonders for him. Debutante Mehreen looks pretty and never fails to impress. She has the right kind of innocence on her face needed for the role. But the star of the film is Suraj Sharma who plays a guy phobic of commitment, is scared of his own decisions and who’s in the process of ‘finding himself’. His mannerisms and expressions are to die for. He’s just too good. If he’s on screen, you have a smile on your face just by looking at him. The first half is interesting only and only because of him.
It must be mentioned that the sets are authentic enhancing the overall appeal of the film, a fact which needs mention when the film talks about two time zones. Music is satisfactorily good, not great though.
Though it’s a film which will find its takers only in the emotional class of audience, it must be watched for the uniqueness of the concept, especially the manner in which it connects two time zones and cultures.