Actors: Anushka Sharma, Diljit Dosanjh, Surah Sharma, Mehreen Peerzada
Anshai Lal’s directorial debut traces the incidents around the marriage of Kanan (Suraj Sharma) with his childhood love, Anu (Mehreen Pirzada). The twist is that Kanan marries a tree as he is a “manglik” and the ghost of Shashi (Anushka) is bound to him as she is the ghost on the tree. The film narrates two parallel love stories – that of Kanan and of Shashi.
Set in undivided Punjab in the pre-Independence era Anushka-Diljit’s love story is quite unusual. While Diljit plays a “bhaant, kanjar, piyakkad” singer, Anushka is the obedient sister of a doctor who believes that singing and dancing is not for “respected people”.
Anushka loves poetry and even writes for a weekly that is widely read in her pind – Phillaur. Everyone loves her poetry but Anushka does not unveil her identity because “acche ghar ki ladkiyan in cheezon mein nahi padti”. She becomes an intellectual equal and partner – more of the “sangini” for Diljit – as she writes and he sings.
Conceptually, Phillauri is a winner and that much was evident from the trailer. The idea is superbly original, culturally on point and has great potential. The problem is, you only get what you see in the trailer. The narrative shifts between Shashi’s past and Kanan’s present seem abrupt; the soulful songs are easy on the ear.
The actors sweep in and carry the film, though. With his body language and voice modulation, Suraj Sharma nails the confused-aimless millennial and lightens the mood. Mehreen Pirzada’s helpless and hopelessly-in-love Anu is endearing. Diljit Dosanjh brings his trademark goodness to a rather bland role. And as the translucent ghost (kudos to the VFX team), Anushka delivers a solid performance with a weird mix of sadness and humour.
Its an okey dokey film. Watch it if you are a fan of Anushka Sharma and Diljit Dosanjh. Otherwise, you can wait a couple of weeks to see it on TV.