India Insight

Movie Review: 2 States

April 18, 2014

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)

Abhishek Varman’s “2 States”, based on a Chetan Bhagat novel of the same name, is a good example of a movie subject that would appeal to a new, younger Indian audience.

It features two youngsters who are freethinking, unencumbered by tradition and apparently able to take their own decisions. But they are respectful enough not to implement those decisions without their families’ approval.

This is where the new India stands – parents who give children freedom and education, but exert their authority when it comes to crucial decisions.

But “2 States” doesn’t know where to stop. It takes a good idea and stretches it to a point where it becomes tedious and uninteresting.

Krish (Arjun Kapoor) and Ananya (Alia Bhatt) and conflicts over their diverse backgrounds are good fodder for a romantic comedy, but when the same stereotypes play out over and over again, it begins to jar.

The love story between the two characters unfolds rather predictably, helped only by Bhatt’s screen presence, and when the plot moves to the inevitable north-south divide, director Varman uses old, stale stereotypes about Punjabis and Tamilians that may not hold water any more in today’s India.

For example, when Ananya’s mother tells Krish that her daughter cannot marry him because their cultures and values are very different, it doesn’t ring true, because just ten minutes earlier, the same woman sang a Bollywood number at what is supposed to be a classical music concert.

Amrita Singh’s overbearing Punjabi mother act is more convincing, as is Rohit Roy as Krish’s troubled father, but the repeated emphasis on how loud Punjabis are or how cultured Tamilians are is forced and unconvincing.

Still, there are some bright spots in “2 States” and the chemistry between the two leads is one. Kapoor struggles at the beginning, but his character grows on you. There are some laughs to be had in spite of the tried and tested jokes, and Bhatt’s acting is effortless – she’s a pleasure to watch on screen.

“2 States” ends up being a rather dull and outdated commentary on the misconceptions Indians have about each other, and there are times when you wish Ananya would just agree, when Krish tells her — many times in the film — that they should just run away.

(Follow Shilpa on Twitter at @shilpajay. This article is website-exclusive and cannot be reproduced without permission)

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“It features two youngsters who are freethinking, unencumbered by tradition and apparently able to take their own decisions. But they are respectful enough not to implement those decisions without their families’ approval”.

If you can’t execute your decision without approval, its not a “decision” its a “proposal”.

Posted by Wilmerdon | Report as abusive
 

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