Phillauri: Highway Reel Film Review


Rating – 2.5

Cast – Anushka Sharma, Diljit Dosanj, Suraj Sharma and Mehreen Pirzada

Director – Anshai Lal

Kannan Gill (Suraj Sharma) comes from Canada to Punjab to marry his childhood sweetheart, Anu (Mehreen Pirzada), only to be told that he’s born under an unfortunate star sign. He has to marry a tree to ward off bad luck. Things go awry when Kannan awakens the spirit of a once-young girl, Shashi (Anushka Sharma), who died there decades ago.

As they get acquainted, Kannan realises that Shashi’s haunting past has left her with some unfinished business and while filling in the blanks of her story, he begins to understand his.

Phillauri oscillates between the past and the present with parallel love stories. The only difference is that the contemporary one is way more relatable and entertaining than the long-lost love saga of Phillauri (Diljit Dosanj) and Shashi.

The first half of the movie will keep you glued to the screen with its witty dialogues, comical scenes and unique story. First-time director Anshai Lal, beautifully captures the typical Punjabi wedding scene. You’ll enjoy the chatter of the dramatic moms, whisky-drinking aunties and over-enthusiastic relatives. Cut to a simpler time when two young poets are discovering themselves, about to fall in love and you’ll suddenly find the energy dipping.

Towards the second half, the film goes from dull to ridiculously boring. There’s no denying that Anushka and Diljit are brilliant actors, but the unnecessarily dragged story makes it a tedious watch. I don’t even want to get started on the fifteen-minute climax that makes one want to take a pair of scissors and chop the reel.

As a producer, Anushka Sharma should be commended for encouraging such stories off the beaten path. But keeping in mind the short attention spans of the millennials, a stronger hold on editing could have given Phillauri a great narrative boost.

As I mentioned already, Anushka is a fabulous actor and wonderfully underplays her role as the friendly ghost. However, Diljit Dosanj takes the cake with this one. We saw him as the mellow, subdued police officer in Udta Punjab but in this film, he seems to have done a 180-degree turn. I’ll just say, ‘Diljit tune Dil jeet liya’!

Suraj Sharma, Mehreen Pirzada and Youtube sensation, Nidhi Bisht make notable debuts. Overall, even the supporting actors were a talented bunch.

Except for Sahibaan, the songs in Phillauri just seem to prolong the already elaborate saga.

Supriya Says: Watch Phillauri for the excellent actors who manage to salvage a boring script.

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