'Phillauri' Review: Anushka Sharma aka Shashi manages to make us feel for her despite the film's clichéd premise – If the attempt is to engage the audience with light moments and scenes then Phillauri does manage to strike the right note…
Cast:Anushka Sharma, Diljit Dosanjh, Suraj Sharma
Director: Anshai Lal
What's it about
Phillauri is a love story that oscillates between two time periods, one where a young boy (Suraj Sharma) is unsure about the bride he's about the marry while the second deals with the pre independence era where Shashi's (Anushka Sharma) love story with Roop Lal (Diljit) meets an abrupt end under strange circumstances. Shashi's spirit now haunts Suraj who married the same tree where she hung herself. The plot takes several liberties to use myths and folklore to weave an engaging narrative. But does it manage to keep you invested is the big question. For a premise that's immensely predictable, the director attempts to take a risk with a climax that ends up feeling like a gimmick gone wrong.
It isn't easy playing a friendly ghost. You not only have to come across as likeable but there also have an element of believability. Full marks to the VFX team for making Anushka look like a spirit. Her movements in the frame, the close ups and even her attempt to spook Suraj win major brownie points. Anshai Lal does ample research to recreate the pre independence era. Everything from the costumes, to the props to the set decor transports you to that era. Anushka's Shashi scenes are more impressive than her moments as the ghost. She manages to make us feel for her even if the premise is laden with cliches. Diljit strikes a chord with his performance and we wish there were more scenes with him and Anushka. Suraj Sharma too is a perfect cast in the role of a bumbling young man whose life is now in the hands of a ghost!
The film opens at a snails pace and you wonder if that is a conscious effort to narrate the story with ease and perhaps a few scenes later things will pick up. But to your dismay, the tempo of Phillauri is a constant blunder till it lazily struggles towards its outrageous climax. If the attempt is to engage the audience with light moments and scenes then Phillauri does manage to strike the right note, but the way the scenes are written and executed makes you uneasy and restless in the hope that the story will somewhere pick pace. Also the novelty of Shashi in her spirit form wears off pretty soon. Once we see her do her tricks and spook Suraj, there isn't much left for her to do. The constant shift between the past and present is an irritant and distracts you from the main plot. None of the songs stay with you and their length could have easily been tamed at edit. As you head towards the climax you wonder if the writers ran out of ideas or decided to stump the audience with a plot that seems like a total sell out. There was a collective sigh of disbelief as Phillauri's climax unfolded before the audience. In a day and age where so much attention is being paid to the writing, the cinematic liberties the film makers have taken are quite shocking.
What to do
Anushka Sharma's spirited act is the only reason you might want to give this dull boring romantic drama a chance.