Anushka Sharma stars and produces her latest movie
A brave risk at trying something different with the Bollywood romcom formula let down by bland storytelling, shoddy editing and whiney performances.
By Shai Hussain
Phillauri sees Kanan (Suraj Sharma), a confused young 26 year old fretting to marry his childhood sweetheart Anu (newcomer Mehreen Pirzada). However, when he reluctantly listens to a priest who advises him to follow the horoscopes that he should marry a tree first, Kanan finds himself beset to spend the rest of his life haunted by the ghost of Shashi (Anushka Sharma) to whom he is now married.
Truthfully speaking, if the ghost of Anushka was cast younger, this would have made a cracker of a comedic love triangle. But alas, the dilemma gives way to two parallel love stories, neither of which feel truly entertaining nor involving: that of whiney millennials Kanan and Anu - whose marriage you really won't believe will last a day let alone the rest of their lives - and that of Anushka and her beloved Roop (Diljit Dosanjh), whose forbidden love story we've revisited countless times before and offers little to the formula.
There's a welcome nod to the Indian music publishing industry of yore, but otherwise this is an industry of yawn. Scenes linger on for minutes past their due and could have been edited immensely, none more so than the majestic ending which feels like director Anshai Lal wanted viewers to get their Bollywood worth of a 3-hour sitting.
What slows the film so much is that there never feels to be a race against the clock for Kanan to resolve the mystery of Shashi before his impending marriage, nor a necessity for Kanan to decide whether he wants to marry Anu. He says he loves her, but we never truly feel why outside of excruciating low volume whines. Suraj Sharma has done and can do much much better than this.
There's a slight insight into the difference of the intensity and security of old-fashioned romance against the confused, self-obsessed love aaj kal, but this was much more maturely handled in Love Aaj Kal. It's pretty to look at, the music is delightful, it's intentions are sweet, but the film just isn't very good.