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A tale of two Indian states, told very well!

The Bollywood adaptation of Chetan Bhagat's autobiographical novel, 2-States: The Story of My Marriage, does justice to the narrative.

A tale of two Indian states, told very well!
2 States****
*ing: Arjun Kapoor, Alia Bhatt,
Ronit Roy, Amrita Singh
Directed by Abhishek Varman
Genre: Romantic comedy
A boy and a girl are in love. The parents on both the sides are against it. But with time and persistence, the wall between the two families crumbles and ultimately, all is well that ends well. This has happened so many times in Bollywood that you lose count, but in 2 States, it’s different. The parents live in separate states, share different cultures (Punjabi & Tamil) and the boy is the autobiographical version of Chetan Bhagat, India’s best-selling author!

2 States – The story of my marriage!

The film is based on Chetan Bhagat’s best-seller 2 States: The Story of my Marriage where the very Punjabi Krish Malhotra (Arjun Kapoor) and the beautiful Tamilian Ananya Swaminathan (Alia Bhatt) fall in love while studying at Indian Institute of Management (IIM). The difference between their families is visible at their convocation, from where things turn bad, then ugly. The love birds try their best to make things right but help only arrives from unexpected quarters. For those who have read the book, they know what I mean; the rest should watch the movie to find out.

Alia steals Arjun’s thunder

The magical pairing of Alia Bhatt and Arjun Kapoor seals the fate of 2 states – they are unsurprisingly cool when they first meet and by the time the first half hour is over, they are deeply in love. The decision of Arjun’s character – earlier in the movie – to not pursue the relationship is admirable, since he doesn’t want to end up as Alia’s rakhi brother. Alia, on the other hand, blows away all competition with her ‘I don’t care’ attitude; the scenes where she negotiates a deal at a wedding or agrees when proposed during a job interview, add to her growing reputation as an actress. After Highway, she is certainly going the ‘high way’!

Top class acting from the supporting characters

Both the parents of Krish and Ananya are pivotal to the story, and the actors who portray them give top notch performances. Kavita Malhotra (Amrita Singh) gets the most screen time and with her typical ‘Maa’ lines, she manages to hang onto her son whom she doesn’t want to lose to a Madrasi! Radha Swaminathan (Revathy) does well as the mother of the girl and she is the one Krish convinces first to go one up in the battle. The relatives (girl’s brother, boy’s aunt and relatives) all come and go, and it would have been better had some of the scenes been cut from the final version to shorten the film and make the story more crisp.poster

The stars amongst the parents are the fathers- Vikram Malhotra (Ronit Roy) and Shiv Swaminathan (Shiv Kumar Subramaniam). While Vikram is always angry, dominating and drunk, Shiv is the exact opposite. TV superstar Ronit Roy made his film debut a couple of years back but judging by the way he acts, he has found his comfort zone even on the silver screen. The scene where Shiv Kumar gets comfortable talking to the protagonist is too funny to resist.

Music doesn’t disturb the flow

The best thing about the songs in 2 States is that they don’t disturb the flow of the narrative. All the songs give the Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy touch and command a second (and third) hearing. It was the medley however that will take you back into the 90s where songs were treated as love anthems, and it is also very important to the story!

With the writer’s seal of approval!

Before you reach a conclusion, let me tell you that this film is for the audience in love or those who have read the book. Since the director Abhishek Varman doesn’t deviate much from the source material, the writer Chetan Bhagat had no issues like the ones he had when Five Point Someone was made into 3 Idiots and he refused to take the credit. Since the book is in English, the ardent fans out there were wondering whether the dialogues would do justice  and they did. With lines like “bura hoon, bewaqoof nahi” delivered by a dad with

serious anger-management issues; Krish’s mother’s rant “South Indian larkiyan hamesha North Indian larkon ko phansati hain”, how can one not take notice!

Yes the film follows meet-the-parents formula but this is something that actually happened to a real person! I agree at some places, the director exaggerates the cultural differences, but it is the script that saves the day. As Krish who-wants-to-be-a-writer points out “Story mein hero ho na ho, story hero honi chahiye.” And here, the story is the hero!

Omair Alavi works

for Geo TV and can be contacted at [email protected]

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