Phillauri is a love story with parallel times of modern today and pre-independence India. It opens with Kanan’s homecoming to India after staying in Canada for three years to pursue a career in music and beatboxing. He is all set to marry his lifelong love Anu when he is told to marry a tree because of fault in his stars. But thanks to his stars, he gets married to a friendly ghost Shashi, who lived on the tree. Now, both of them are perplexed at the situation. Will Shashi be ever able to set her soul free?
Phillauri is Anushka Sharma’s second movie as a producer, after NH10, while this is Diljit Dosanjh’s second Bollywood appearance after Udta Punjab. Suraj Sharma, of Life of Pi, has made his debut in Bollywood with Phillauri. Similarly, Nidhi Bisht of TVF has made her debut in Bollywood with a supporting role in the movie. Makers of Gujarati film, Mangal Fera had filed a petition in Bombay High Court against Phillauri over duplicating content, but the court dismissed the petition and fined them instead. The movie boasts of some ultra VFX effects that were used for the very first time in India. Anushka has also rapped in the song ‘Naughty Billo’ for the first time. The name of the movie Phillauri, came from the village, Phillaur in Punjab, whose residents are called Phillauri.
What To Anticipate:
The trailer of the movie showed great potential and Phillauri, which is set in parallel timelines, is funny and charismatic, but at the same time, it falls static at some points.
The movie moves back and forth between the two times to show Shashi’s tragic, yet legendary story and how she landed on a tree. The first half is fast-paced, hilarious and more focused towards Kanan and Anu’s story, relatable to modern day relationships. Suraj Sharma makes a strong debut with his raw screen presence and acting. His inability to explain his marriage to a ghost and to his family is one of the funniest scenes of the film. It’s a modern Punjabi family where the dadi drinks at 9 in the morning and talks about her bedroom shenanigans in front of her son. Anushka plays a friendly ghost and is very natural with her lines.
But the highlight of the movie is, Diljit Dosanjh. He takes the movie to another level. His debut in Udta Punjab was praiseworthy, but there is a new side to him that we get to see in Phillauri. Playing a singer-cum-poet in the pre-independent Punjab, Roop Lal Phillauri is charismatic and riveting. In his get up as a Punjabi folk singer with dhoti, kajal and a tumbi in his hand, his singing pumps up the dropping narrative of the movie. The authentic portrayal of pre-independence Punjab is laudable. The interlinked stories, the road to independence, and the love for poetry and folk music – all the elements have been subtly roped in the storyline.
The second half of the movie seems a bit dragged, especially towards the climax. Though the VFX effects are eye-pleasing, the movie could have used better editing.
The film is about two love stories but there is not much that you take home after the movie. Both the love stories have their own share of tribulations but there is no message. The movie also has too many songs, which undermines the essence of the storyline. One song, in particular, Dum Dum has been well placed. Nidhi Bisht’s role as Anushka’s best friend could have been given more substance. We expected a better debut from such a talented actress.