Banner: Fox Star Studios, Clean Slate Films
Producers: Anushka Sharma, Karnesh Sharma, Fox Star Studios
Director: Anshai Lal
Cast: Anushka Sharma, Diljit Dosanjh, Suraj Sharma, Mehreen Pirzada, Manav Vij, Nidhi Bisht
Writer: Anvita Dutt
Music: Shashwat Sachdev
Anushka Sharma proved her mettle as a producer with her very first film under her banner, NH10. With Phillauri, the actress has cemented her reputation in that department. But what makes this film such a winner? Anshai Lal’s Phillauri has all the right ingredients for a super entertainer – from a love story, to drama, to comedy and great performances.
From the day it was announced till the release of its theatrical trailers, Phillauri has been in the news. The first look itself suggested that this film would be a joyride. The promos aroused much curiosity and the film lives up to expectations.
The film starts with Kannan (Suraj Sharma), who is back in his hometown after spending three years in Canada. He is here to get married to his long-time girlfriend Anu (Mehreen Pirzada). Kannan has picked up a few Western habits and now ridicules many Hindu traditions. Smothered by the attention and under pressure to have a big Indian wedding, Kannan loses interest in having a grand affair and Anu is upset with his casual demeanor.
Next, the family priest announces that Kanan is a manglik and he is asked to marry a tree before he marries a woman, as is the custom. Resisting this at first, Kannan gives in to the pressure and marries a tree, only to find that he’s now married to Shashi (Anushka Sharma), whose soul had lived on the tree.
Meanwhile, we are introduced to Shashi’s previous life. Sashi, who was a closet writer, lived with her elder brother (Manav Vij) and was in love with a singer Phillauri (Diljit Dosanjh). How the story unfolds further forms the crux of the film.
Directorially, Lal is spot-on with his film. He wraps the story with the right mix of drama. He smartly carves out a niche screenplay and, as a director, holds his narration firm. The film starts on an impressive note but post-interval, it tends to drag. The treatment of the subject is what makes this film click. The concept is very clear: some people are simply meant to be with each other even after death tries to rend them asunder, and some love stories have to fight self-doubt for a clearer picture to emerge.
Many scenes and sequences leave you awestruck. For instance, the interactions between Sashi and Kanan; Kanan and Anu’s relationship and their interactions; and Anu’s family and their antics. The conversations between Sashi and her brother have been scripted brilliantly. The lines flow with ease, and humour has been injected subtly. The writing again earns brownie points; the narrative flows at a leisurely pace but is also wrapped firmly. Phillauri is also an example of perfect casting and a beautiful marriage of fact with fiction. The film is pure, unadulterated entertainment from the word ‘go’ and you fall for the movie, hook, line and sinker.
Kudos to the production department for the costumes, sets and detailing, which make the film a treat to watch. And let’s not forget the ghostly appearance of Anushka Sharma. The VFX team has done a spectacular job with the special effects.
Music works with the screenplay and complements the narration. Background score is good too. Cinematography by Vishal Sinha is top notch. The difference between the present and Sashi’s past life are brilliantly picturised, with different colour tones. Editing by Rameshwar S Bhagat is firm and, with a runtime of 138 minutes, the scenes are fitted with perfect segue.
Performance-wise, Anushka Sharma exudes confidence from the first frame to the very last. She plays her part with flamboyance and her ability to grasp the minutest details of her character is obvious. Diljit Dosanjh wraps subtleness around his character and delivers an outstanding performance. Suraj Sharma delivers a stunning performance. Debutante Mehreen Pirzada is fabulous and plays her part with panache. Manav Vij plays his role with gusto and is fantastic. Nidhi Bisht is good. The rest of the cast is noteworthy and supports well.
Verdict: Worth a watch!