SINGAPORE - 2 States, based on Indian banker-turned-writer Chetan Bhagat's best-selling novel of the same name, is billed as a romantic comedy but feels more like an over-extended family drama.
The movie, unlike the book, has few witty touches. The 2009 novel, a confessional story of Bhagat's own romance with his wife Anusha, is about a Punjabi boy from New Delhi and a Tamil girl from Chennai who fall in love while studying at India's top management school.
The North-South cultural divide, with the plot centred on it, is nothing new in Indian cinema. 2 States, given its contemporary setting and its easy approach to romance, love and sex, had a chance to update a previously tried-and-tested formula of the boy and girl from different cultures trying to convince their respective families to say yes to their marriage.
Yet, it fails in large part because of the clunky dialogue, sloppy editing and a too-long storyline that sees both families either fighting or sulking in equal measure. The songs, the mainstay of Bollywood romances, are forgettable too.
It does not help that Arjun Kapoor playing Krish has such a deadpan expression through most of the film that you almost want to jump out of your seat, shake him up and ask him to emote just a wee bit. The occasional sparks are offered by the fresh-faced Alia Bhatt who plays his love interest Ananya. She is styled well and looks beautiful in her sarees.
By the time the duo are done convincing their parents to say yes to their wedding, one only wants it to end.
This article was published on April 23 in The Straits Times.
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