Bollywood Film Review “Phillauri”



First, the Recap:

The great open vortex of time. Spanning beyond any of our limited existence here on this planet, it encompasses the very essence of who were are as human beings, yet transcends into realms we have yet to fully grasp. We wait, we hope, we strive, we seek out every opportunity to make the most of what’s given to us, especially in fondness for another. But what if it is cut short, unfulfilled? One young man, Kanan (Suraj Sharma), arrives back to his home from years abroad to a celebration of family and devotion towards wife-to-be Anu (Mehreen Pirzada). One catch remains, however. In order to prevent calamity in their bond–Kanan must marry a tree!

Less than enthused and befuddled by it all, Kanan undergoes the process, unbeknownst to him until that night he’s involuntarily acquired the attention of a ghost, Shashi (Anushka Sharma), whose unsettled reality on the earthly plane is initially tied to the ceremony and subsequent actions taken afterwards.  Unable to rid himself of this otherworldly spirit while attempting to figure out how he truly feels about his own pending marriage and future, his interactions with Shashi reveals her own backstory of epic romance with a kindred heart, Phillauri (Diljit Dosanjh), that drastically impacted her life. Soon, it becomes a race to save both Kanan’s relationship and Shashi’s path to peaceful rest.

Next, my Mind:

Filled with the magical stylings and creativeness as only Bollywood can provide, Anshai Lal’s directorial debut film absolutely shines with its romantic charm, impassioned performances, witty dialogue, impactful dramatic flare, and soul-stirring narrative that had this reviewer in tears by its deeply affecting finale. Visually lush to a level that reminds one of watching a Disney fairy tale, this ghost story delivers on all the above factors and then some, paired with some very solid SFX adding the beauteous supernatural aura to Shashi’s character. The overall scope of the film’s dual tales of courtship and undying affection which must still endure hardship, misunderstandings, and heartbreak maintains a grounded sensibility that keeps things plausible while adding the fantastical elements to enhance the grander themes being explored.

Anushka Sharma is a total gem here in her role as Shashi, the roaming spirit tied to the tree Kanan “marries” and is therefore bound to him until she can ascertain why she is present in the world of the living.  Her curiously playful demeanor with Kanan is soon tempered by an understanding of his internal struggles, even as many of those mirror her own past. Watching the revelations of both her heart-rending and heartwarming circumstances is acutely enacted by Sharma, whose beauty and acting prowess serve her so effectively all around here. Along the same lines, Suraj Sharma’s performance as Kanan is equally well played, presenting a man who feels life might be moving ahead just a tad too fast, but then comes to the realization that perhaps its simply the fear of moving forward that is trying to hold him back. His reactions to Shashi’s presence are hilarious and sincere, but also watching him come to the deeper awareness and comprehension of what needs to happen for her to find rest is very, very moving.

Pirzada does fine work as Kanan’s long-suffering, often frustrated bride-to-be Anu, who only longs to be with the man she loves, but suddenly doesn’t seem to love her back, forcing her to either give up on him or give him a chance to reveal what she, quite literally, cannot see in order to also gain insight into what has been beleauguring him. Dosanjh is yet another excellent performance here as the object of Shashi’s undying affections, Phillauri, a rebel and poet who captures her heart once its revealed they share much more in common that ever realized, despite coming from completely different walks in life. His story is one of unbridled bravado, genuine sentiment, and a tragic occurrence, which Dosanjh delivers with confidence and emotive poise.

Overall, “Phillauri” is an epic film that carries its themes with a resolve and presentation that will touch hearts and move the soul with its enchanting demeanor, whimsical tone, wondrous execution, and the timeless tale showcasing the ethereal beauty of true, unconditional, death-defying love.

As always, this is all for your consideration and comment.  Until next time, thank you for reading!

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