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Mausam

When a film is made by an experienced theatre personality, an actor who is on top of his game with offbeat cinema, anticipation soars. Unfortunately, Mausam fails to capture the essence of a timeless love story, as the film’s tagline goes.

The film is about a Punjabi boy, Harry alias Lt Harinder Singh (Shahid Kapoor), who falls in love with a Kashmiri Muslim girl, Aayat (Sonam Kapoor). The two meet but keep losing each other due to the Hindu-Muslim strife, which is also chiefly how they met in the first place.

Aayat’s father wants to keep his daughter safe from the trouble in the Kashmir Valley, so he sends her to his sister Fatima’s (Supriya Pathak) house at Mallukot in Punjab. Here, Aayat meets Harry and there is an instant connection between the two. The rest of the story is about how they keep coming together and then separating all over again.

Pankaj Kapur, who is making his directorial debut, tries to tell an eternal love story but fails to provoke any emotions or empathy for his lead characters. He strokes many sensitive issues – riots and blasts, from the ‘90s communal tension to 9/11. The basic premise and the story are praiseworthy. Oddly enough, the protagonists meet each other very often, which is a bizarre case of serendipity.

Though the first half is reasonably enjoyable, the film disappoints post-interval and the climax is ridiculous. Thus, the film is enjoyable in bits and parts. Having said that, kudos to the way Kapur has handled the few dramatic moments in the film. One of these is the confrontation between Shahid Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor, where they meet in Scotland. Another moment that has been captured beautifully is Shahid’s outburst, when he locates Sonam in the train. Also presented well is the simpleton life of the small village and the blossoming romance between the lead couple. If only there were more scenes like these, this film would have been a treat.

Even if you don’t fall in love with the characters, you fall in love with the locations, and tend to overlook the scripting flaws. Background score, music and cinematography deserve full marks. Editing could have been better. The segue between the scenes is unpleasant and it fails to connect with the audience.

The film provides some genuinely affectionate moments — one where a song turns almost into karaoke as the lovers scribble notes making up the lyrics – and some curious but lovely detailing that is beautifully captured. The absurd climax completely brings down the early shades of pleasure. Also, since the film is a little over two and a half hours long, it is too long to have a post-climax scene.

Performance wise, Shahid Kapoor is the soul of the film. He plays his part with panache. He gets into the skin of his character beautifully. As an actor, Mausam is entirely his film. Sonam Kapoor looks elegantly pretty. She brings the required fragility to her character. It is her best performance to date. Supriya Pathak plays her part exceptionally well. Anupam Kher is wasted. The rest of the cast performs well.

Verdict: A must-watch for all Shahid Kapoor-Sonam Kapoor fans but poor content and execution will ruin this film’s prospects at the ticket counter in the long run.

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