Cinema

Epic disaster

With due respect to the effort and the vision to create something of this scale, the powerhouse actor making his directorial debut really ought to have had a script worth our reading time before setting out around the world with his son and fighter planes.

The convenience with which the story's most decisive boy-supposed-to-meet-girl moments are interrupted by riots, terrorist attacks and more chaos gets increasingly laughable in a world that's so connected. Yes, nobody's even heard of the Internet in Mausam.

The film begins with promise, even if the director resorts to silly Santa-Banta gags, with a flavour rooted in the heartland of Punjab, familiar territory for everyone used to Yash Raj Films of the Nineties. The cinematography makes it look all the more gorgeous as Binod Pradhan's lenses transport you to that little village called Mallukot with blue cars, yellow fields and orange sweaters.

Even if he's playing a village bumpkin, Shahid always has perfectly styled hair. Even if she's playing a homeless Kashmiri refugee, Sonam always has access to the best wardrobe and great lipstick.

You let these minor irritants pass because everything looks very good and the laughs keep coming, even if the love triangle in the first act reminds you of that Shah Rukh Khan-Kajol-Mandira Bedi subplot from Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge.

It's when the riots start playing havoc with their lives that the film starts losing its way. And every excuse of rioting that keeps the star-crossed lovers away from each other takes you farther away from the proceedings.

Sporting a caterpillar-moustache, an oversized Indian Air Force hat and mouthing cornball lines (“I like your bird, Officer. It flies well”), Shahid seems completely out of place inside the plane as his Top Gun homage to Tom Cruise plays out like a spoof. It's funnier when, after all those endless shots of four guys carrying helmets and walking out in coolers in a line, Shahid has to do a complete U-Turn.

Many brave men from the Indian Air Force fought the Kargil War. Harry (Shahid) is not one of them. He's the guy who's sent back mid-way after his tail catches fire. The boy who gets his hand paralysed while trying to land the plane back at the base.

Poor homeless Aayat (Sonam) has little else to do in the film but find temporary shelters in Scotland, Switzerland, Ahmedabad, Mallukot and New York. What a terrible life for a refugee with all those frequent flier points!

Think of all possible clichés that have kept star-crossed lovers away in Hindi cinema over the years and put them all in one movie — jilted lover, jealous rival, death of father, change of address, call of duty, misunderstandings, unread letters and those riots every few years.

Why does the film feel the need to set these events of great historical significance as the backdrop to this love story? Because Harry is Punjabi and Aayat is Kashmiri. Though these communities that had suffered a lot with all that violence around them, it is still too much of a stretch to put all those events in one film. And then, have them randomly bump into each other in different countries around the world!

As if all that wasn't plausible enough, Pankaj Kapur decides to showcase the hero's superhuman side. Shahid gets off the Glacier Express and runs back from one station to the previous one in snowy, mountainous Switzerland.

Later, he climbs a Giant Wheel with just one hand (his other is paralysed until the moment it auto-cures itself in time to save a child). After a point, you are just laughing at everything.

It says a lot about the film when the most romantic people in it are not its leads but the other couple — the NRI Sikh (played by Herry Tangri) and his bride.

That scene where he asks her for a kiss over the phone is exactly the kind of simple romance that would have made this film work.

Too bad that Mausam loses its simplicity chasing grandeur.

Mausam

Genre: Romance

Director: Pankaj Kapur

Cast: Shahid Kapoor, Sonam Kapoor, Anupam Kher

Storyline: Every time Harry tries to connect with his Sally, it rains and all hell breaks loose — Babri Masjid demolition, Mumbai Blasts, Kargil, 9/11 and Best Bakery — in this old-fashioned romance that makes you age

Bottomline: Tries so hard to be epic that the film loses its plot somewhere between those half-a-dozen countries it visits



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Printable version | Oct 23, 2020 11:39:18 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/epic-disaster/article2481937.ece

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