After 3 Idiots (2009), 2 STATES is the next ultimate tribute to Chetan Bhagat’s literary piece of work – 3.5/5.0
Verdict – Merits repeated viewing due to its chartbuster music, relatable storyline, fantastic performances & mainly, the jaw-dropping technicalities!
K. Balachander’s Ek Duuje Ke Liye (1981) kicked off the trend of *inter-caste relationships/marriages* in Bollywood. Though it has a tragic denouement but the movie was huge success back then and accordingly, the template became all-important for a Hindi movie to set the box-office ringing. Latterly, Shoojit Sircar’s immensely acclaimed Vicky Donor (2012) redefined the idea where Ayushmann Khurrana’s Punjabi mother detest Yami Gautam’s Bengali parents. But Abhishek Varman (director/screenwriter), for his debut outing, has adapted Chetan Bhagat’s — the biggest-selling English-language novelist in India’s history — biographical book by the same title ‘2 States: The Story of My Marriage’, which is simplistically palpable & deals with the psyche of young adults in a country like India where a love affair resulted into marriage is no less than a battle won. Here, instead of becoming a rebel by going against their parents’ wishes, together they make sure that the girl’s family has to love the boy, boy’s family has to love the girl, the girl’s family has to love the boy’s family and the boy’s family has to love the girl’s family. The message is simple and clear — True love knows no boundaries, states, communities and cultures even though it crosses many and it has a sole intention of bringing people together to a time called forever.
The story is told from the point of view of the male protagonist. Punjabi boy Krish Malhotra (Arjun Kapoor) is tall, handsome, chiseled, knowledgeable, has great smile/dimples and awares of his reality, duty and ambition. He hopes to be a writer someday. He’s raised by an overbearing Punjabi mother, Kavita Malhotra (Amrita Singh) and an alcoholic father, Vikram Malhotra (Ronit Roy). Krish meets Ananya Swaminathan (Alia Bhatt) at an elite MBA college and quite predictably, both of them fall in love. Ananya is intelligent, confident, pretty, the eldest child of a middle class Tamil-Brahmin family from Chennai and full of ambition & youthful energy. She holds great value in the consent and happiness of her more traditional mother, Radha Swaminathan (Revathy) and father, Shiv Swaminathan (Shiv Subrahmanyam). They take a compos mentis decision that they won’t get married till the time their parents don’t give their consent and to convert their love story into a love marriage, the couple faces a tough battle in front of them all. Eventually, how Krish succeeds in walking down the aisle with Ananya and becoming a writer, forms the apogee.
The story is simple, *not* excessively melodramatic/emotional, has its heart & mind in the right place and a humorous take on inter community marriages in India. The proceedings are even more enjoyable than the book, which, in fact, is the real attainment. Kudos to debutant director Abhishek Varman for the detailing, the susceptibility with which he handles relationships *without* taking sides & employing any contrivances to catch the fancy of audience and bringing out the best & the worst in both the communities. He uses all the elements in a right measure, which proves to be the silent intrinsic force that makes the flick interestingly entertaining. The story has many things at the same time. The circumstances are relevantly destined than designed. Right from the couple’s mission to make a truce between their families to Krrish juggling between his job and different cities in his attempt to marry the love of his life Ananya, are picture perfect and relatable. The backstory of Krish and his father packs a solid punch. The scene in which a solemn Krish proposes marriage to Ananya and her family with four golden rings in his hand saying, “Mai Aap Sab Se Shaadi Krna Chahta Hu”, is one of the many highlights of the enterprise. The climax too, is worth rounds of applause. Hussain Dalal’s funny one-liners & self-denouncing remarks about one’s family and community are sure to bring the house down with Parik-Tubby’s background score uplifting the mood at every single juncture. The story moves between four cities – Ahmedabad, Delhi, Chennai and Mumbai. While the viewers are shown just a glimpse of the first city, the other three are described in full radiance with DoP Binod Pradhan ingeniously capturing the cultures & panoramic locales of north and south India. Amrita Mahal Nakai’s production design takes the impact of the movie notches ahead. She’s avowedly the real winner of the enterprise. Resplendent! Manish Malhotra, Shiraz Siddiqui, Natascha Charak and Nikita Mohanty’s costumes are both modish and conventional at the same time. The mellifluous soundtrack (Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy) in context with newfangled lyrics (Amitabh Bhattacharya) go down well with the mood of the film. Winsome!
On the flip side, the pace is dull to some extent especially because the film borders at a runtime of 149 minutes. The editing (Namrata Rao) could’ve been more taut for an overwhelming after-effect.
Arjun Kapoor’s composure while effortlessly slipping in the role of Krish is laudable. He’s evidently a scene-stealer! One cannot take his/her eyes off from him. Alia Bhatt is on a nailing spree. She’s the next big thing in Bollywood in days to come. Her eyes & body language emote incomparably. Alia’s Ananya is a virtuoso act. Ovation! Ronit Roy — who quietly observes the tumultuous events unfold in his son’s life — is exemplary. Watch out for him during the closing moments. Amrita Singh’s banters are the highpoint. She’s impeccable throughout. Revathy, Achint Kaur and Shiv Subrahmanyam are tactile pillars of the enterprise.
After 3 Idiots (2009), 2 STATES is the next ultimate tribute to Chetan Bhagat’s literary piece of work, which merits repeated viewing owing to its charbuster music, relatable storyline, fantastic performances and mainly, the jaw-dropping technicalities. Right On!
By: Ramesh Sinha