2 states (2014)

A book written by and apparently based on Chetan Bhagat’s own dating and marriage story, has Arjun Kapoor (Krish) in a positive role, finally! Alia (Ananya) shines in a confident yet traditional role, different from her other two outings. They make a sparkling couple thanks to the way the director Abhishek Verman has presented them.

The story is simple, reminiscent of a side story in Vicky Donor where the Bengalis finally party with the Punjabis. Here of course, its the ‘Madrasis’ who are subject to Punjabi antics, dished out deliciously by Amrita Singh. She is up against Revathy, who gives it back with equal fervour. Wish there were subtitles for such a film, to let the audience truly be part of both states.

Its an ensemble cast effort, be it the strong and silent Shiv Kumar Subramanium who plays Alia’s dad, or Arjun’s alcoholic father Ronit Roy plays so convincingly. Both families put together, you have a southern buffet served with a north Indian tadka, made sensitively and sincerely.

The director has planned his highs and lows well in the film, sometimes stretching the plot too thin, but taking you to a beautiful conclusion nevertheless.

3/5

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Madras Cafe (2013)

This film which was shot and directed really well, but had a few loop holes. The documentary style approach, its vivid story telling, is not common for the Indian audience.

While we were ‘spoon fed’ what may have happened during the lead up to the assassination of our ‘ex PM’ and the circumstances that surrounded it, it was the cast that let the product down. John is wooden without any emotion, and goes through the film mouthing lines. Other important characters are either too emphatic, or caricature-like. Nargis Fakhri was not convincing at all. There are some good performances, but the casting could have been better. Some details in the story are either missing or vague, but they can be over looked by the masses. The discerning viewer will catch them though.

What saves the film is the direction and an honest attempt to say a story differently. Shots of war, distress, trauma and the planning and completion of the mission are executed very well. I guess since John was producer, the director was stuck with this particular talent.

Another feather in the cap for Shoojit Sircar after Yahaan (2005) and Vicky Donor (2012).

3/5