Films | PATIALA HOUSE – Movie Review

PATIALA HOUSE – Movie Review

Posted by barkha on February 11, 2011 | No Comments

PRODUCER – Bhushan Kumar, Mukesh Talreja, Kishan Kumar, Twinkle Khanna, Zoeb Springwala

DIRECTOR – Nikhil Advani

WRITER – Nikhil Advani (story, screenplay), Anvita Dutt Guptan (dialogues,screenplay)

CAST – Akshay Kumar, Anushka Sharma, Rishi Kapoor, Dimple Kapadia

MUSIC – Shankar Mahadevan, Ehsaan Noorani, Loy Mendonca

After a significant hiatus comes a Bollywood film in its own native tradition of family sagas and extensive narratives that weaves emotion, morality and drama, all in one thread. What at one point could also famously be called the Karan-Johar-YRF school of film-making. Or even the Barjatyas. Patiala House follows that tradition unabashedly but with a strong focus on its own story than singular ‘meant-to-please’ elements.

Nikhil Advani’s ‘Patiala House’ is a family drama that deals with the dreams and aspirations of the second generation of an NRI Sikh family in London under a jingoistically idealistic father and head of family. Gurtej Singh Kahlon (Rishi Kapoor) is a totalitarian champion of anti-racism in Southall, a response to the racist attacks/discrimination he faced in the early days of his arrival in UK. His hurt and angst turns him into a blanket patriot which leads to him denying his son his dream, of playing cricket because it means playing for the English team. This is perceived as unpatriotic by Gurtej and Parghat Singh (Akshay Kumar’s) dreams are crushed right in his teens, despite his talents being distinctly superior. Parghat or Gattu as he is fondly called, resigns to a fate of a mediocre life and hides away behind his pain. But one day an opportunity to fulfill his dream presents itself to him again. This time it is not only about himself but about the dreams and aspirations of all his siblings too. He is called upon to lead by example and break free of the tyranny of imposed ideals.

The climax is a forgone conclusion from the time the film begins. It builds its set up and characters with care and attention as it sets the mood for the events to come. The first half is almost an elaborate introduction to the happenings of the second half. Without gimmicks or an insecure emphasis on ‘pace’ the first half turns out to be a detailed picture of a family with its quirks and qualities that have all the value of emotion, drama and comedy within it. It does not compromise on the so-called ‘entertainment value’ either and that works well for the film.
The second half picks up on the pace with humorous instances of things going wrong and attempts to keep them on track. But this does not last long. Soon enough the emotional drama sets in but the film does not lose its adrenaline. What it does in fact is sieve in bits of modern day quirky narrative styles with its split screens and graphics and dizzy editing that keeps the tempo high.

Akshay Kumar and Anushka Sharma bring a solidity to the entire film. His sober, diffident and self-pitying Gattu is extremely well-matched with her gutsy, blabbering, spirited survivor. Much like the Rekha of Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s ‘Khubsoorat’, she brings the whole family out of their own diffidence and helps Gattu get a new lease on life. Anushka Sharma’s verve and un-affected performance once again does complete justice to her character. Akshay Kumar’s restrained act is a warm welcome after the spate of stereotypical loud-mouthed roles that have become synonymous with him.  Rishi Kapoor’s confidence and vitality as an actor has always shone bright and it is no different here. After Dabangg, Dimple Kapadia’s aged mother whose heart aches for her son yet cannot defy his father finds yet another well-defined expression.
The secondary characters are extremely well-chosen and deliver convincing performances. Maybe that is the reason that, despite being simplistic and naively entertaining, the film still manages to draw us in.

For lovers of regular masala family film, Patiala House has a lot to offer. It stays true to its story and milieu and above all, the ‘Bollywood experience’ of gaana-bajaana, rona-dhona, romance and old-world values that we had all but forgotten.

FATEMA KAGALWALA

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