"Take movies, music, poetry out of life & its gone!"

PHILLAURI - It's a confusingly conceived Punjabi film made in Hindi, based on an interesting but inspired idea with the only merit being its emotional climax. (Review By Bobby Sing)

24 Mar, 2017 | Movie Reviews / 2017 Releases / Inspired Movies (Alphabetical) / P

It hurts when a very fine potential idea goes wrong due to various reasons and PHILLAURI exactly makes you feel the same, even though its basic plot has been actually blatantly borrowed or lifted from a foreign source.

Conceived with a clearly flawed vision, the film confusingly tries to reach both the Punjabi as well as non-Punjabi audiences through its completely mixed-up visuals, broken language and the title too referring to a village in Punjab, PHILLAUR.

The forced, uneven and mismatch language used.
To be straight, PHILLAURI is yet again a Punjabi film made in Hindi with a view to cater a wider market, actually ruining its original flavor of the subject and its essence. In other words, its really quite weird to see that even when its entire script is based in Punjab, focusing on all Punjabi characters and the entire writing remains dipped in the regional language throughout including the dialogues, lyrics & songs, still they decided to make it in a ‘forcibly mixed language’ instead of Punjabi alone, hugely affecting its overall impact and performance, which otherwise could have been much more stronger and fruitful, if made in the regional language.

For instance, as a partial period drama going into the past (almost a century back), the film showcases a weekly magazine (or RISALA as it was called) published in Punjab in Punjabi language, but having its entire content in Hindi including the poetry (written in Punjabi script). So though the story is all about the Punjab of 1919 and punjabi people - speaking, conversing and thinking in Punjabi as their way of living, strangely the poetry they are writing is in Hindi and the magazine also has all Hindi content published in Punjabi script with even the title saying “Preetam Ka Parcha” instead of “Preetam Da Parcha” ……….clearly revealing the confused mindset of the writers as well as the entire team behind its making.

Moreover it also shows the foolish and unaware status of the writers/makers when they try to portray Punjabi families and their ladies as heavy drunkards who begin taking their pegs from the early morning itself and be proud of that too. Wonder why Diljit didn't object to that kind of silly and wrong portrayal of Punjabi families in the film or was he not even aware of that at all? 

Misleading Promos
Nothing can hamper a film more than its misleading promos and the problem is right there with PHILLAURI too, since the film is neither any funny, light hearted comedy nor a thoroughly enjoyable film as projected in its misguiding trailers focusing majorly on the comic sequences. So if you are assuming it to be fun-filled family entertainer, then you are going to be disappointed the most as it’s a completely different film unlike the one projected in the trailers.

The Two Halves
PHILLAURI right away begins with some unexpected psychedelic visuals before introducing the two Punjabi families meeting each other enjoying the pre-wedding functions. The forced Punjabi dialogues spoken with the wrong accents clearly get noticed in the opening minutes itself (continuing right till the end). The proceedings do manage to keep you fairly entertained for a while before the flashbacks start coming in at intervals, seriously hindering the pace before the intermission.

The fun element goes completely missing post the initial hour and the second half has too many dragging moments till the director reveals the actual reasoning behind the tragedy, leading towards a highly emotional and mostly likeable climax interestingly linking the story to the Vaisakhi massacre in Jallianwala Bagh of Amritsar in the year 1919.

So the final 20 minutes of PHILLAURI can easily be rated as the best feature of the attempt thankfully saving the film from being a complete disaster.

As A Period Venture
It’s really difficult to go for a period film in your much awaited debut attempt, but director Anshai Lal presents this specific part of PHILLAURI fairly well, despite the restricted budget and minimum support coming from his writing department. An actor like Raza Murad gets simply wasted in these particular sequences and Manav Vij remains the only person excelling in his short role of an elder brother to be bluntly honest.

Besides, it’s this repeatedly travelling to the past only which actually makes the film largely inconsistent, unimpressive and extremely slow in the second half adding to the unwanted length.

Emotional Climax as the only merit
As mentioned above, just when you are ready to reject the film as a big disappointment, it comes up with a well-conceived twist and successfully manages to bring you back as soon as the Jallianwala Bagh link gets disclosed. So the finale insertion does establish an emotional connect with the viewer and you don’t feel like completely exhausted while moving out of the theatre praising its appreciable conclusion.

In fact I strongly sense that the climax might have been the only feature impressing Anushka Sharma the most as the film’s producer.

To be fair, the performers do try to give their best in their assigned roles, but many of them still appear to be miscast at times maybe due to the unengaging writing and a dragging screenplay. Suraj Sharma as the young boy returning from abroad is just okay whereas Mehreen Pirzada looks sweet in absence of any well-written scenes to prove her undisclosed talent. Anushka Sharma fails to impress as the friendly ghost and looks more natural only in the flashback sequences. Yet she doesn’t come up with anything exceptional in her portrayal of two contrastingly different eras. Diljit Dosanjh as the strongest feature of the film might bring in the audience in the North belt of the country, but he too largely looks like a misfit in the film who keeps trying hard to be subtle as per his given character of a regional singer (again questionably singing in Hindi instead of Punjabi). Having said that, Diljit still remains the biggest saviour of the film unarguably.

The Technical Department and Music
The VFX looks fine in the beginning with the revelation of the ghost and as soon the focus shifts to the past, the cinematography catches your attention creating a different aura along with the background score. However both the special effects as well as BGM does tend to go over the top towards the end as I strongly felt. In the soundtrack, ‘Sahiba' remains the only notable song among the uninspiring lot, effectively enhancing the romance on the screen. But the melody remains largely missing representing the forgotten golden era of the early masters. Personally I loved the reference of Gauhar Jaan (one of the first artists to be recorded in the country) and the display of recording equipment of those years bringing in the novelty factor.

The Inspired Status.
PHILLAURI simply borrows or lifts its basic plot from the English animation film COPRSE BRIDE (2005) and it was really laughable reading the official denials for the same in the media reports. But at the same time, it deserves to be mentioned that the plot has been certainly adapted well in the Indian context, though it couldn’t get transformed in any equally entertaining script or film.

Giving you the exact reference, in CORPSE BRIDE, the young would-be husband keeps fumbling in the pre-wedding rehearsal in front of the priest and thus is asked to go and first practice the same in front of a tree. While doing so, he bends on one knee and puts the wedding ring in a root like figure at the bottom of the tree, which incidentally is the hand of a female corpse coming out of the ground, buried under the same tree long back. So he unknowingly gets married to a corpse, who then starts following him as his bride and now willing to take him back into their world of the dead.

The writers of PHILLAURI took the exact premises changing it to the Indian context of a Manglik boy being married to a tree before his actual marriage, which happens to be the house of a female ghost, and then added a predictable flashback plot bringing in Diljit’s character. However, I would still like to appreciate the way they later connected the story to the horrifying history of Jallianwala Bagh in a truly emotional manner.

In all, you might like PHILLAURI if you are a die-hard fan of Diljit Dosanjh, willing to appreciate anything and everything featuring your hero in the lead role. But the film cannot be included in the list of any highly appreciable ventures in the career of both Diljit and Anushka together, wasting a potential idea.

Rating : 2 / 5 (The film gets literally rescued/saved by its climax)

Tags : Phillauri Review by Bobby Sing, Phillauri Film Review by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, Punjabi film made in Hinid, Phillauri and Corpse Bride (2005), Inspired Hindi Films, Copied Hindi Films, New Hindi Movies Reviews, New Hindi Movies Released, New Bollywood Reviews, Bobby Talks Cinema Review, Reviews By Bobby Sing, New Hindi Films Reviews at bobbytalkscinema.com
24 Mar 2017 / Comment ( 2 )
Gobindpreet Singh Gupta
Hi Bobby, i just now saw a mind blowing Tamil suspense movie titled Dhuruvangal Pathinaaru and thought that you should watch it too.

Hope you enjoy it!!!!
Bobby Sing

Dear Gobindpreet Singh Gupta,
Thanks for writing in with a fine recommendation.
I had seen the film and posted about it at my FB page too as a great not to be missed film by true movie lovers..

Actually due to time issue I am not able to write in details about every movie and it takes time to reach the site as a complete write-up.
So I keep on positing about them at my FB page in short, which I would like you to join getting the valuable updates.

Hope to see you there too soon.

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