The film begins in Sikkim and follows Lakshya (Himansh Kohli), whose only motive is to share a passionate first kiss with a girl. Lakshya is the son of a deceased army officer who gave up his life for his country but he lacks patriotism and hangs around with his friends Jiya (Nicole Faria), Pardy (Shreyas Pardiwalla) and Neil (Dev Sharma). Their world turns upside-down when their college principal (Gulshan Grover) selects them for a competition with an Australian college. Losing the competition would mean they lose a part of their college campus to the Australians.

Joining them in this endeavour is nerdy and grounded Saloni (Rakul Preet), who believes that there is more to life than boy-meets-girl. How the five friends win the competition and save their college campus forms the crux of the story.

To start, it has to be said that it takes guts to start your career as a director with newcomers. With the backing of T-Series, debutante director Divya Khosla Kumar could have had taken the safe route and made her directorial debut with established actors but she chose to do it the hard way.

But for a few veteran names, the film boasts new faces and that’s the beauty of this venture. Newcomers tend to give their best and some of them impress throughout this film. As for Khosla Kumar, it seems she knew exactly what she wanted to achieve. Barring a few missteps, the film is executed with confidence.

The film is not only about young people and what they want; it’s also about their relationship with their parents. The major USP of the film is its music and location. Cinematographer Sameer Arya has done a splendid job.

Thus, from locations to costumes the entire look of the film is lavish. The highlight of the film is the part leading up to the interval. Post-interval, the momentum does not slow and the story takes an U-turn when Kumar starts injecting emotion into the film. Here, the characters begin to reveal their true colours, emotions spill, a mother loses her only son, and another helpless mother wants her son to respect his father’s martyrdom.

Admittedly, there are many glitches in the screenplay but since it’s pacy, you tend to overlook them. The dialogue could have been better in places. Since the film is about young people, it offers tremendous scope for great one-liners but there are many missed opportunities.

The film scores largely due to its look, not to mention the many scenes that take you back to your school or college days. There are so many scenes which look forced but the way they have been presented makes them believable. The best among them is the scene where Saloni and Lakshya start to spend time together and Lakshya starts to fall in love with her. Another winner is the scene where Lakshya returns from Australia and his maasi (Deepti Naval) is waiting for her son to return.

Musically, the film is a T-Series production and it lives up to expectations. The peppy number Sunny sunny and the romantic Baarish are the pick of the lot. Baarish is also stunningly picturised. As mentioned earlier, cinematography by Sameer Arya is superb. He captures the beautiful locales with stunning finesse. The race sequence is pictured brilliantly as well. Editing by Aarif Sheikh could have been much better. With a runtime of 157 minutes, the film sometimes tends to drag. For instance, during the chess competition in Australia, Lakshya visits a friend in hospital. The scene is so protracted, that it drains its emotional essence.

Performance-wise, the young lot makes a decent debut even though it is evident that they are rough around the edges. Himansh Kohli plays his part with confidence. Rakul Preet does well but needs to brush up on her expressions. Nicole Faria essays her character with boldness. Serah Singh is okay. Dev Sharma does justice to his role. Evelyn Sharma looks good and plays her part with élan. Shreyas Pardiwalla is irksome.

Deepti Naval impresses with her knack to make her character her own. She is not only brilliant but one of the highlights of the movie. Gulshan Grover doesn’t add much. Smita Jaykar plays her part with sincerity. Sayali Bhagat in her limited role is notable. The rest of the cast supports adequately.

Verdict: The film has taken a decent start and the music being its trump card, it may coast to the safety mark.

Collection Chart
As on 20th January, 2018
Wo India Ka Shakespear110.00K10.00K

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