Phillauri - Review

wogma rating: Watch if you have nothing better to do (?)
quick review:

Some films mesmerize because they linger lyrically, beautifully. Others l-l-l-i-i-i-i-n-n-g-e-r in a way you wish it stops before you can say asap. Unfortunately, Phillauri is the latter.

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Wogma Review

It is sad enough when you watch a feature length film and you don't see a story. Phillauri attempts two stories and neither has the strength of holding up by itself or to support the other. It is more upsetting than having watched two films without a story. Sure, the special effects are reasonably better than what we are used to in an average Hindi film that involves special effects. The story concept as brought out by the trailer is cute too. Alas, there is nothing more to go on.

The cuteness or the humor seen in the trailer is pretty much all there is in the film. The few minutes before and after the said scene are just an unhealthy hyper-extention of the moment. This can be said pretty much about the entire film. I don't think I would be exaggerating if a scene where a couple hugs runs for about 5 minutes – Disney fairytale like score running in the background. This is true of the songs too. While the music is appropriately folklore-ish, the songs feel too long too.

When you are only waiting for this scene to be done with, so that the next can come and be done with, you can barely be taken over by performances. All the cast does what it has to do – Suraj Sharma stays confused, Mehreen Pirzada disappointed, Diljit Dosanjh smitten. Anushka Sharma's Sashi is the only character that can afford some variation in expression and she makes the most of it.

Along similar lines, when the story doesn't move, social messages, satire, strong women, etc just don't seal the deal. A story has to grip with its content or its presentation for any of this to matter. As you watch scene after scene overstay their welcome, you ultimately realise that nothing interesting is really going to happen. By the time, the big reveal(s) come about, you have guessed them and even as you guess, you aren't really enamored by any of it.

Movies like Phillauri make me wonder about talented actors, producers with a said vision, music, special effects – some bits underdone, some overdone and some like story – not done at all. And how not all departments put together can compensate for the one that is way off the mark.

- meeta, a part of the audience

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: One scene with one person beating another one up
  • Language: Clean
  • Nudity & Sexual content: One making out scene. And a scene which implies pre-marital pregnancy.
  • Concept: A ghost seeks relief from being trapped in the after world.
  • General Look and Feel: A contrast of sepia-toned early 1900s with bright and cheerful times of today.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

  • Direction: 1
  • Story: 0.5
  • Lead Actors: 2.5
  • Character Artists: 3
  • Dialogues: 2
  • Screenplay: 0
  • Music Director: 3
  • Lyrics: 2.5

Phillauri - Movie Details

Phillauri - Trailer

If you cannot see a video above, click here to see it on YouTube

Comments (6)

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Sonia:

Not very impressive, no need to watch this flick in theaters.

TimELiebe:

I think we'd like it better than you did, Meeta - but yes, I can sort of see why it's not your cup of chai.

FYI, I went looking for you on FB to give you this link to read! I think you should be very proud, as an Hindustani Woman.... :)

https://backchannel.com/isro-scientists-5ad220d6f38c

fanofcfc8:

Meeetttuuu..."Life" or "Anarkali of Arah' ....definitely "catch it on dvd for sure" or "The keen must watch on screen; else DVD"

I seriously thought you would choose Swara over anushka...u know what ? ....we need a "review on demand" option :D

meeta:

@fanofcfc8 I know! Theaters playing it too far away and there's risk of show being cancelled or me being one of 2-3 people watching. So didn't go. Hopefully, will be out on TV/Net and I can watch it then.

meeta:

@TimELiebe yep! Thank you :)

Fan:

One’s art and fame should not be wasted on trivial and vulgar matters but should be used for the benefit of mankind.

Phillauri as a cinematic journey can be split into 3 equal parts. The first part is your typical modern day comic caper built around a Big Punjabi wedding. The last part is steeped in emotions, varying from love, fraternity, patriotism, respect, etc. The middle part is the one that flounders and leaves you with a “could have been better” feeling.

Phillauri at the heart is a love film. It has been nicely woven into modern days concepts of love, contrasted with love of age gone by. The comic concept of a friendly ghost is also quite a creative and interesting idea. The idea in itself has lot of scope for making a full-fledged film, reminded heavily of Peter Ustinov in Blackbeard’s Ghost (recycled and heavily Indianized as Chamatkar for the Hindi world). But Phillauri uses that concept of the friendly ghost as a vehicle to narrate another story. A story that seems pointless and meandering along, with the heavy Punjabi dialogues not helping the situation a lot neither. But once you sit through this part, the story eventually grips you and involves you in the happenings as it reaches the climax. I felt that the scene which followed the climax and the revealing of the suspense was dragged on for a long time – probably the director got too carried away in the spur of the moment, but then alright it goes away eventually.

Coming to my starting statement, it very much resumes my point against established industry names like YRF and Dharma – who instead of using their fame on different but meaningful films are wasting away their resources on trivial and vulgar subjects. On the other hand film makers like Kashyaps and Bharadwajs are wasting away their art and fame on arrogant and irresponsible film making. That is where Anushka Sharma needs to be lauded as a producer. She is slowly but surely carving out a name for herself via “different from the rest” and yet significant films like NH10 and Phillauri. And I am ready to overlook the less than interesting middle portions of the film to give brownie points to her as a producer, and wish to encourage her to continue making good films. I had never thought that I would eagerly await the 3rd production from Anushka Sharma. Way to go girl.

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