2 States - Review

wogma rating: The keen should rent; else TV (?) - The ultra-keen could consider the big screen
quick review:

Debutante director Abhishek Varman gives us a Chetan Bhagat adaptation that doesn't attempt to offer any more heft than what the book does. It provides instant gratification primarily because of a charming lead cast and an excellent supporting cast that rises above the rather tame writing.

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Wogma Review

*I am out on a vacation. Pradeep has been kind enough to review the film for wogma. So here goes...

~ meetu*

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2 States is the kind of film that is most likely to give you exactly what you expect from it; and that isn't necessarily a good thing.

A young, vibrant love story between a Punjabi boy and a Tamilian girl - or, as we Indians seem to revel in relegating to highly generic region-based nomenclature as 'North Indian' and 'South Indian' (for the record, 'North India' and 'South India' are not places!) - 2 States gives you a thoroughly engaging lead pair amidst stereotypical humour taking off on the respective states. (The showy Punjabi or the condescending Tamilian, for instance.)

That the attractive leads are going to fall in love with each other is a given. Arjun Kapoor and Alia Bhatt occupy the screen as well as their young, yuppie characters with ease. They play off each other well; to use a cliché that should have been abolished even before slavery was, they share 'great chemistry'.

What is also nice to see is the easy manner in which the couple - both the boy as well as the girl - handles intimacy, without it being made as big a deal as we're used to seeing in our movies. In fact, the scenes featuring just the couple are rather refreshing. In the context of our big mainstream cinema, this is the closest we've come to capturing the spirit of how the youth of today treat relationships.

But in India, love is the mere beginning. The hard part is convincing the respective sets of parents, particularly when it so happens that they lie on opposite sides of the great cultural divide brought forth by the mighty Vindhyas.

In terms of plot, the film stays largely faithful to the Chetan Bhagat novel it is adapted from. One can safely say that 2 States isn't Bhagat's worst bit of writing, though that isn't particularly saying much. Where the film falters, despite being largely watchable, is precisely where it should actually have been the strongest - in the conflict that prevents the couple in love from ending up together.

If the romance portions are breezy and make you smile often, the portions involving the parents look like they belong to another film, one that was set a few decades back. True, the Punjabi-Tamil (or, North-South, if you prefer it) clash is meant to evoke comedy, but it comes across as too forced. It's hard to digest the kind of acrimony seen in the film in this day and age, even though the reluctance of the older generation is still very much a reality.

Another sore point in the film is the relationship that Arjun’s character Krish shares with his father played by a suitably gruff Ronit Roy. It keeps cropping up through the film, but is never once fully explained.

The film is also sinfully long. At two and a half hours, considering the demographic the film is aimed at, the film is a good thirty minutes too long. The climax of the film drags on and on, and then drags some more, before ending exactly where you knew it was going to end. The film also follows a forced non-linear narrative that just doesn't seem to have a point. Why it moves back and forth in time is a mystery, when it would have worked just the same as a flat-out linear narrative.

The real takeaway from the film, then, is the manner in which the supporting cast, the four parents to be precise, create characters that are at once over-the-top yet believable. Revathy and Amrita Singh, in particular, are top notch. While Arjun is earnest and Alia brings spunk, verve and spontaneity to her part, they aren't faced with the task of creating distinct characters, the way the senior actors are.

It would have helped immensely if the film had a more memorable soundtrack, though a couple of songs are quite catchy, to be fair.

When you walk out of 2 States, then, one isn't likely to be absolutely gushing about it, nor will one be particularly annoyed by it. It just gives you what it promises - tolerable enough fun for just as long as it lasts.

This review is by guest reviewer Pradeep Menon. Pradeep is a filmmaker and a dreamer. He loves books, rain, winters, tea and his parents. Cinema, however, is the only truth he believes in. He breathes and bleeds film, mostly in hues of saffron, white, green and blue. You can watch his short films at www.youtube.com/cyberpradeep.

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: A couple of slaps.
  • Language: Clean.
  • Nudity & Sexual content: Intimacy between the lead pair.
  • Concept: A North-meets-South love story.
  • General Look and Feel: Colourful, bright and young.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

  • Direction: 2.5
  • Story: 2
  • Lead Actors: 3.5
  • Character Artists: 3.5
  • Dialogues: 2.5
  • Screenplay: 2.5
  • Music Director: 2
  • Lyrics: 2

2 States - Movie Details

2 States - Trailer

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Comments (4)

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Fan:

This time I have not yet booked the tickets for tonight. Hoping to see your review early enough to make the call.

Having said that I have read the book so I know what it is all about. Nevertheless translating a book into a film is never an easy task.

Anand Sachdev:

Excellent Movie ! Great Performances by the leading cast and the supporting cast ! Background music is very good !
Overall a must watch movie for those who like good sensible movies with fair amount of humor and emotion !!!! Yes, it doesn't offer anything more than what many have read in the book, but that's already told that its a direct adaptation from the book. So it makes all the sense. I also disagree that the movie should have been short by 1/2 an hour, as it would not have been able to do justice with all the characters in that case. Anyways, I simply loved the movie, great work by Abhishek the director.

Ehinome Okojie:

This film is heading for 80 cr.

TimELiebe:

Pradeep, oh we Americans are going to watch this film, b/c we love Indian romantic comedies, with songs! And I see Shankar Ehsaan Loy's done the songs - since I've got a number of their tunes on my iPod's Gym Mix track, that's enough of a recommendation for me! :)

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