Cultural differences between families often play spoilsport in Bollywood love stories. But we have come a long way from the dramatic and tragic Ek Duje Ke Liye. our novels and films have begun to find possible love stories in this aspirational shift. Here the makers are trying to suggest that the urbane young have become inclusive but their parents are still stuck to the roots. Earlier this year we saw a similar, if smaller, conflict in another Dharma production Gori Tere Pyaar Mein . Gori remains the operative word in Two States as well. Alia Bhatt plays a Tamil Brahmin without any effort to sound like one, but Revathy is cast as her mother to make it more realistic. And her love interest is the Punjabi boy Krish played by Arjun Kapoor.
Based on Chetan Bhagat’s semi-autobiographical novel, director Abhishek Varman has managed to retain the Bhagat flavour. It is light, frothy but constantly trying to be profound. It is a kind of film that never comes to the boiling point. It keeps rumbling and rambling without adding much to the dialogue apart from a couple of interesting observations.
Ananya, the girl from Mylapore, and Krish, the Malhotra boy from Delhi meet at an IIM campus. The boy goes to Chennai to win over the girl’s parents and in return the girl tries to woo the Punjabi mother of Kris.
It is irksome how Varman keeps recycling the community-centric jokes. Some make you chuckle but most make you cringe. Varman fails to recognise the fact that Chetan’s duo went to IIM in 1995. It has been two decades since then and in the meanwhile the demographic profile of the country has changed considerably. The remarks on skin colour and dowry seem rather flimsy particularly when he has the likes of Revathy and Shiv Subramanium playing the parents.
The film gathers its emotional heft in the second half when the relationship between Krish and his alcoholic father (Ronit Roy) unravels. Amrita Singh plays a vital cog in the wheel as the suffering wife and the overprotective mother.
Alia and Arjun make an interesting pair. Arjun finally gets a role where he has to explore the vulnerability of the character without any props and he doesn’t disappoint. It is their natural charm, particularly Alia’s effortless approach, that makes you invest in their relationship despite the fact that the narrative unfolds in a soap operatic tone.
Cast: Arjun Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Amrita Singh, Ronit Roy, Revathy, Shiv Subramanium
Plot: A Tamil girl falls in love with a Punjabi boy but they decide to marry only when their parents will bless them.
Bottomline: Try it if you have the patience!