Fact, they say, can be stranger than fiction. Chetan Bhagat’s novel, 2 States, is all about the inter-state marriage of a Punjabi boy with a Tamilian girl was based on his own experiences. The book was occasionally droll, often stereotypical and largely playing to the galleries. The film stays rather true to the book in content and consequence.
Krish Malhotra and Ananya Swaminathan’s love story and the challenges of marrying into diametrically opposite families is exactly what Bhagat fans might want. The other satisfied audience for this film would be fans of Alia Bhatt and Arjun Kapoor.
At one hour forty nine minutes running time, it would be faster to read (or re-read) the book. Abhishek Varman’s film has songs thrust in randomly, a jarring background score, hardly any emotional moments to latch on to and the overused device of Krish speaking to a psychotherapist in a room as large as some hotel lobbies puncture the rhythm.
The first hour is pretty much college romance and lots of cavorting in a dorm room between revising Economics. Alia Bhatt’s Ananya is cutesy throughout. Constantly smiling and giggling, appearing to be the only one in on the joke – a problem I had with her performance even in Highway. Having said that, she’s certainly taken giant strides in this, her third film. She’s confident and surer of the camera.
Binod Pradhan’s lensing accentuates her charm by giving her a dreamy softness. Kapoor does not bring any insights or depth to his character, and neither his pain nor passion are believable. Both Krish and Ananya are too nice, too flat for us to really get to know them.
We get to know their parents a little better, thankfully. Revathi and Amrita Singh sizzle as the warring mothers (and in-laws to be). Shiv Subramaniam seems out of place while Ronit Roy’s tyrannical father is a sequel to his role in Udaan. The sparkle mainly comes in the meet-the-parents sections of the film. Of course it’s not without its share of stereotypes and clearly a north Indian perspective on South Indian homes.
Sample this funny one: “Kitne madrasi heroines ne punjabi mundon ko phasaya hai” (How many Madrasi heroines have ensnared Punjabi men) and (to paraphrase) “Tamilian homes look like a robber came and left behind a sofa he didn’t like”.
As for Amrita Singh’s character, it’s enough to put anyone off a Punjabi mother-in-law!