1st Prize PHILLAURI UNDERWHELMING ATTEMPT
Move over Casper the Friendly Ghost. Bollywood gets its own friendly neighbourhood ghost in Phillauri. Shashi (Anushka Sharma) has been residing in a tree in Punjab since pre-Independence era. She’s set free when a Canada returned dude (Life of Pi fame Suraj Sharma) is forced to marry that tree to ward off bad luck. But Shashi, who was a poetess, wants to reunite with her singer amour (Diljit Dosanjh) who had deserted her on their wedding day eons ago. Like Imtiaz Ali’s Love Aaj Kal (2009), the film oscillates between the present and past. While the present has a commitment phobic couple, the past deals with a vagabond singer and his poetess beloved. The story had potential to be a winsome comedy but alas, debutant director Anshai Lal fritters away that opportunity by his snail like pace. Some scenes appear disjointed due to patchy editing. But Anushka is brilliant and lifts the film to a cut above the commonplace. Diljit, a fine actor, delivers an effective performance. It’s nice to see Raza Murad in a cameo. For most of its unending run time, Phillauri remains an underwhelming attempt. Admittedly, the climactic revelation is a stunner but your patience runs out by then.
Sumeet Nadkarni, Mumbai
Bollywood has a number of films about scary ghosts but this one turns out to be different. And,