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quick review:

Trust and betrayal; lust, love, and infidelity; kinship and friendship—Gehraaiyaan could have weaved them all well together had it not steadily geared towards becoming bizarre. (Available on Amazon Prime Video)

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Director: Shakun Batra
Running time: 145 minutes
Genres: Noir, Romance
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Even an hour into the film, you know you don’t really know the characters well yet. The extent to which they can go to get what they want seems to be more than the previous sequence. But you are curious, and that is good enough. And then you realise it just might have more to do with you being a patient audience than your attention being held by great writing.

The distance created is neither overcome by top-notch performances nor moving, believable chemistry.

Four seemingly well-developed characters, all made stronger by the actors playing them manage to bore you by being repetitious and going out-of-character eventually. It’s a shame that you cannot root for any of them, even the nice ones, because you are feeling pity, not concern. It doesn’t help that the characters you want to like aren’t really nice people. In fact, the story seems to revolve around the nastiest of them all. It might have worked if the idea was to tell us an anti-hero’s story. But that’s not how it can shape when you are trying to show that you are doing justice to all characters or even the two main leads equally.

Interestingly, you don’t hate them either. In an unconventional way, you want to understand why they are doing what they are doing. So complicated gets their situation that you wonder how these not-nice people will get out of it. And then they try to convince themselves that they have no choice but to cross lines that the audience might or might not be ready for. This push makes Gehraiyaan shuttle between “shocking for the sake of being shocking” and “trying too hard to be different”.

The distance created is neither overcome by top-notch performances nor moving, believable chemistry. There is little hope then for the atmosphere created by the camerawork, music and production design to help the movie recover.

Interestingly, even as I tried to dodge spoilers, the mixed reactions were intriguing. I wondered if it was because of the mismatch between the viewers’ morality and the characters’ choices. Having watched the film, I understand the mild and yet complete dissatisfaction the audience experiences after the film. A rare film that doesn’t have an all-sad-climax yet leaves you gloomy. A not-so-nice rare.

~ ~ ~

Only recently has it so happened that most of the people I know have seen a film before I have. Me being wary of cinema halls doesn’t help either. Until I get there though, I am enjoying this place where friends and family want me to write about a film because they have watched it. Here’s hoping I won’t get used to it and will catch a film in a theater soon, maybe even next week.

- meeta, a part of the audience

21 reviewers(?) - 12 yays 3 so-so 6 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, DNA : ...'Gehraiyaan' makes the complex drama too convoluted. You may not end up smiling, and may find it a bit overdramatic.... full review

Thumbs up, by Devesh Sharma, Filmfare : ...Much has been written about Deepika and Siddhant's bold scenes so we won't add to that. Suffice to say that they do share a crackling chemistry and need to do a romantic film together. The film is shot quite beautifully by Kaushal Shah. A technically sound film having some fine performances and carrying a hint of mystery as well -- doesn't that make for the perfect OTT entertainment...... full review

Thumbs up, by Anna MM verttcad, FirstPost : ...Like the ocean that often dominates the screen in Gehraiyaan, at every moment in time this film gives off a vibe that it is holding back as much as it lets on. If a film could be described as a pageturner, this one is it.... full review

Thumbs up, by Nairita Mukherjee, india today : ...But Gehraiyaan's runtime could pose a problem. At 2 hours and 30 minutes, without songs to breakout into except the ones with montages of Alisha and Zain's fast-spiralling illicit affair, it is perhaps too long for OTT viewing. Especially when there's no interval. But Shakun does his best to hold the audience, adding enough twists to ensure you are never bored.... full review

Thumbs up, by Ambica Sachin, Khaleej Times : ...While some lucky ones like Khanna (Shah) are able to make peace with the past, for certain other characters it is not so easy to break the shackles of genes and therein lies the conundrum - are you defined by destiny or the choices you believe you are making?... full review

Thumbs up, by Umesh Punwani, koimoi : ...All said and done, I don’t remember when was the last time a film’s title did so much justice to its story. It just drowns you... full review

Thumbs up, by Sameer Ahire, Movie Talkies : ...One or two kisses are fine, and even a few abusive words are fine, but here it's like raining kisses and storming the 'F' word. Superfluous! Rest assured, Batra has made a sensible urban cinema for an urban audience. These relationship issues planted by professional problems aren't anything new, but this film makes them look new and fresh. Gehraiyaan is a perfect fit for OTT with an "A" certificate. Our mass audience, which fills most of the seats in theatres, is not yet ready for this. Let's swim in the ocean of Gehraiyaan this Valentine's weekend, created by this fantastic team.... full review

Thumbs up, by Sanjana Jhadav, Pinkvilla : ...On the whole, Shakun Batra's Gehraiyaan is a deep dive into individual and family's past choices, relationships and why we do, what we do. The director has successfully struck a balance of intimacy, shock, grief and above all love. Is it really worth it? Oh, yes.... full review

Thumbs up, by Sukanya Verma, Rediff : ...Deepika Padukone found her groove a while ago. But when a performance feels like a person, it's artistry at an altogether different level. As Alisha, she's raw yet polished, fierce yet soft, volatile yet suppressed, a woman willing to flex herself in every sense of the word. She embodies to perfection the Gehraiyaan in the title.... full review

Thumbs up, by UDITA JHUNJHUNWALA, : ...While the movie touches on infidelity and trust, it is also not a lesson on morality. What comes out of Gehraiyaan is that people do not always act with reason, childhood memories shape our decisions and influence our follies, and the shadow of the past looms on the present and the future.... full review

Thumbs up, by Anuj Kumar, The Hindu : ...More than just its gleam, Gehraiyaan needs to be relished for its deeper meanings and heartfelt performances.... full review

Thumbs up, by Renuka Vyavahare, Times of India : ...What does stick out like a sore thumb here is the film’s length and its lack of clarity. The story digresses heavily in the latter half and makes you wonder where it is headed. With a runtime of 2 hours 28 minutes, it does get a tad monotonous and tiring. Overall, the film has some lovely lingering moments. If you want to look beyond the usual, Gehraiyaan definitely has depth that’s worthy of being explored.... full review

So-So, by Subhash K Jha, Bolly Spice : ...What kept me going through nearly 2 ½ hours was the flawed fractured protagonist’s character. It’s good to see female heroes in Hindi cinema who are not perfect in face, fortune or feelings, and who actually have a sexual appetite. For those who count these things, the number of smooches that Deepika shares with her co-stars could make for an interesting diversion.... full review

So-So, by Madhuri V, Filmi Beat : ...Gehraiyaan has some refreshing tunes to offer. If 'Doobey' makes you float in the air with its addictive lyrics and groovy music, the title track is some food for thought for the messed up souls. 'Bekaboo' makes for a pleasant hear. Read more at: full review

So-So, by Monika Rawal Kukreja, Hindustan Times : ...Nonetheless, Gehraiyaan moves past the length of 'necklines and hemlines' of the outfits the actors have worn in the film and it's the depth of the narrative, story and the emotions that you connect with. Watch it for Deepika because she truly has outdone herself, once again.... full review

Thumbs down, by Baradwaj Rangan, Blogical Conclusion, The New Sunday Express : ...There’s a long corporate arc that really tests your patience. This is where we get to really know Zain, so I understand why these scenes needed to be there. But after all this office stress, when he gets back in bed with Alisha, is it just a happy ending, or is his heart, too, being massaged by her (apparent) love? Kapoor & Sons managed to mix Shakun’s Hollywood sensibilities with a palpable Hindi-film vibe. Gehraiyaan just feels like Match Point meets Purple Noon/The Talented Mr Ripley meets Unfaithful meets any number of Hollywood infidelity dramas. It’s overlong. It’s boring. Irrfan Khan, in Piku, had far more chemistry with a radiant Deepika than the one between Alisha and Zain. None of the actors register strongly, though I suspect Deepika’s high-decibel histrionics will be applauded as great acting. But then, for that, you first need a great character, no?... full review

Thumbs down, by Bobby Sing, Bobby Talks : ...Hence for me this was yet again a missed opportunity wherein the makers were more interested in showcasing love through the excessive and unnecessary intimate scenes, skipping the intense conversation. Gollowing the vision, the fli9m does have glossy, pleasing look but never uses music or songs as any major component of the narrative, which once used to be the most significant feather of a love triangle in Hindi cinema.... full review

Thumbs down, by Russel D'Silva, Bollywood Life : ...Barring distinct flaws revolving around the motivations of Siddhant Chaturvedi's character and its resolutions, Gehraiyaan is a maturely written, meticulously crafted look on infidelity and adult relationships, with Deepika Padukone delivering her career best act and Ananya Panday coming of age. Shakun Batra and Karan Johar can be proud of their movie. I'm going with 3 out of 5 stars.... full review

Thumbs down, by Vaishali Jain, India TV : ...However, the biggest problem with Gehraiyaan is that we’re given absolutely no one to root for. If it could have comprehensively adopted the base and evolved into something wacky or tipped completely into something dark and deranged, it would have been easier to be liked. But the film doesn’t quite comprehend what to accomplish with itself, both script and direction per se. It’s a weird movie; it appears to stretch and go down one road but fast gets mislaid, which delivers a strange mixture of drama that turns out to be some kind of half-traumatic and daddy issues package that doesn’t qualify for much 'depth'.... full review

Thumbs down, by Shubhra Gupta, indian express : ...A modern-day romance between consenting adults at cross purposes? A Bollywood movie with the courage to embrace no-holds-barred physicality? Finally, a film that takes mature viewers seriously. Can anything be better? Gehraiyaan raises our expectations but stops well short of delivering.... full review

Thumbs down, by Saibal Chatterjee, NDTV : ...Three of them - Alisha (Deepika Padukone), Tia (Ananya Panday) and Karan (Dhairya Karwa) have known each other since they were children. The fourth, Zain (Siddhant Chaturvedi), Tia's boyfriend for three years, is an outsider who unites cousins Alisha and Tia on a yacht after a long gap... full review

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This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: Suicide referred to and shown
  • Language: Lots of curse words
  • Nudity & Sexual content: Lots
  • Concept: A man and a woman are in love. But that is not enough.
  • General Look and Feel: Dark and slick tones

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

Lead Actors:
Character Artists:
Music Director:

Gehraiyaan - Cast, crew, links

Official Sites:
Running time:
145 minutes

Comments (1)

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Dear Meetu, Thanks for this nice honest review. I haven't seen the movie and the trailers nor actors interest me to watch it (theatre of OTT).

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