Disclaimer: The post contains ‘spoilers’. However, if you watch the movie later on TV, you’ll realise they’re actually ‘money-savers’.
From the stable of Chetan Bhagat, comes yet another film that is targeted at the youth of the country. And yet, when you sit through the movie, you’re looking around frantically for a knife. And wondering how someone could devote a few years of their lives to such a steaming pile of crap.
Welcome to the land of Chetan Bhagat.
A land where professors pick students on the first day of class and humiliate them. A world where Tamilians call Punjabis ‘uncultured’ two minutes after meeting them. Where Punjabis tell a respectable Tamil family that they’re all dark-skinned, while having dinner with them. Where all students of IIMs wear specs – except the heroine of course. That’d make her unhot!
Two States is the Mahakumbh of stereotypes.
Where stereotypes of every colour, creed, and literary value meet to take part in a gigantic orgy.
The film is set in IIM Ahmedabad, where Krish, a Punjabi boy (who was also from IIT) is a student. He falls in love with Ananya, a Tam-Brahm who doesn’t look, sound, or act like a Tamilian at all. She pronounces ‘bahut’ as ‘bhot’, and ‘Punjabi’ as ‘Pnjaabi’. Because that’s how Tamilians talk.
Like all Chetan Bhagat heroines, she wears jeans as well as salwars, and is ready to have sex at the drop of a hat. But deep within, she’s a sanskari kudi who doesn’t want to go against the wishes of her parents.
The two of them complete their course and it’s time for placements. The boy applies for Yes Bank (because he’s a boy), and the girl applies to Sunsilk (because). And what mind-blowing replies they give, to get through their jobs.
When asked why he wants to join Yes Bank, the guy says ‘Because your bank is the best.’ And when the girl is asked ‘Why Sunsilk?’, she mumbles something about ‘Sunsilk Woman – Confident Woman’.
And then, the interviewers, who are actually ant-eaters in disguise, offer them the jobs. After which, the couple moves on to other first world problems. Like how to get married. Without pissing off parents.
When the parents are introduced, one feels a tinge of regret. That such actors are made to go through such tripe. Revathi manages to bring in some respect into her otherwise frivolous role, whereas Amrita Singh dives into hers uninhibitedly. And then, there’s Ronit Roy – a guy who usually manages to pull off intense roles with aplomb. But since it is Stereotype Carnival, he plays an abusive, alcoholic father. Completely different from his role in Udaan, where is a father of a boy who wants to be a writer. (In Udaan, the boy was a teenager. Here, he’s in his early 20’s. See? Subtle!)
And then there are the leads – the next-gen of Bollywood.
Alia Bhat brings in absolute zilch into the role, and in spite of her screen presence, carries just one expression throughout. Take for example the scene where Krish narrates the most painful incident of his life. When the flashback is done, she is smiling.
And it is the same smile she has when Krish proposes to her (in the middle of her Placements Interview), when she moves in with him, and when she cries during her wedding. Resulting in her looking like a Kareena Kapoor clone – everything from her voice modulation, her expressions, to the way she carries herself, has a distinct Kareena Kapoor hangover.
If Alia has one expression, Arjun Kapoor has half.
Whether he’s talking, walking, grimacing, grinning, or smiling – you feel absolutely nothing for his character. Making him seem like a pass-out from the Sanjay Dutt School of Acting – where actors are trained not to give a single fuck about the film they’re starring in.
But what hurts the film the most, is the lazy writing.
Dialogues have been lifted verbatim from the book. As if to prove that even if books and films are different media, Chetan Bhagat transgresses such banalities. And then, there are the morals that are thrown into the film. Otherwise log kahenge ki yeh sirf entertainment hai. Is se desh nahi badal sakti hai.
So Alia Bhat wins over her in-laws by solving a dowry problem. By humiliating the groom at his wedding, and asking him to be happy with the dowry he’s received, and stop whining for more. Or the scene at the end, where a voice-over tell us that our parents are actually just worried that we’ll forget them, and hence all this drama.
Thus blowing a gigantic kiss to patriarchy, regressive social norms, and 14th century values being practiced in 2014.
In the end, the film succeeds in becoming Chetan Bhagat.
It plays out to the galleries. In one moment, the narrator is a shy, introvert sort of person. In the next, he begins singing and dancing at college, and in weddings. The makers go on to make this abominable shit-fest, with the confidence that backing them, is the voice of the nation.
Chetan fucking Bhagat.
And in the end, that is what the film is. A shit-fest that will earn lots of money.