Friday, February 11, 2011

Review: Patiala House

Patiala House

Cast: Akshay Kumar, Anushka Sharma, Rishi Kapoor, Dimple Kapadia, Hard Kaur, Prem Chopra, Rabbit Sack C, Soni Razdan, Tinu Anand, Jeneva Talwar, Masood Akhtar

Director: Nikhil Advani
Producer: Bhushan Kumar, Mukesh Talreja, Kishan Kumar, Twinkle Khanna, Zoeb Springwala
Music director: Shankar Mahadevan, Ehsaan Noorani, Loy Mendonza
Rating: **

The desire to create drama in some people is so great that they simply don’t mind compromising on simple facts. For Nikhil Advani, who has the pressure of two back-to-back flops on his shoulders, probably the drama looked more convincing. But for a more objective audience it will seem strange how someone can travel from Southall (London) to the Oval cricket ground in few minutes.

Towards the climax of the film the whole family of the protagonist travels by car from Southal to The Oval and reaches in time that is just about enough for couple of overs in a game of cricket. In real life situations that would take at least 48 minutes by train (which is the traffic-less way to travel). By car obviously it will take much longer… probably longer than an innings takes to get over in a T20 match.

This of course is not the only issue with Patiala House. The story has enough scope of drama and one does not need to try extra hard. And that’s where Nikhil Advani falters. Patiala House almost turns to Bend It Like Beckham towards the end!

The film rests on a superb story. A father says his aspiring son Gattu (Akshay) won’t play cricket for the English team. This comes after racial attacks. And like a good son Gattu gives up all dreams and settles to be a shopkeeper. He is ridiculed by everyone for being spineless. But fate has other plans. Simran (Anushka Sharma) comes back to London from India and is motivated to change things. She plays catalyst and makes Gattu get back to cricket. And as he races towards his dream, the rest of the suppressed beings feel liberated too, to do their things and not just follow what the patriarch says.

The screenplay fails to establish a lot of characters and how they are related to the house. There are too many characters overall, half of them not required. And amidst all of them, Dimple Kapadia is reduced to nothing. Certainly there was no requirement of the actress in a role which could have been played by a much lesser star. You definitely expect more when you have a Rishi Kapoor- Dimple Kapadia coming together.

There are a couple of other baffling examples. While I agree with the director’s decision to cast a younger guy as Akshay’s younger version, no explanation will enough for casting someone else as Rishi Kapoor in the flashbacks. And of course there is the forced attempt to make ex-English cricketer Naseer Hussain speak in Hindi. He should have spoken in English and we could have understood his dialogues better.

Akshay and Anushka
Nevertheless, the film has its pluses too. The performances are good. While Rishi Kapoor and Akshay Kumar are at the regular best, Anushka Sharma is a delight every time she is on screen. Dimple is for most of the film and yet does a lot with her body language. The ensemble cast does well too.

While the first half is a drag, the second half picks up pretty well. There is a good build up and the matches add to some excitement. The production values of the film score very high. Nikhil Advani has never scored low on this be it any of his films. The music is good, but the best song comes at the end! The dialogues too are good.

Overall though Patiala House could have been a much better film. This one is too long, fails to impress and cricket alone won’t be saving it.