An Honest Opinion about 2 States, the movie.
Let me get this straight- it’s the summer holidays, and I have all the time in the world to kill. That being said, I obviously spend all day reading novels and poetry, when I don’t have to obligatorily go out, like, say, to college. So, yeah, watching 2 states was on the top of my priorities list.
And no, I haven’t read the book because I’m quite the book snob- wouldn’t read Chetan Bhagat at gunpoint. (I read One Night at the Call Centre, and my high school self was scarred for life, thanks to the crappy content, language, and the like.) So, no, I won’t say the book was better, or any of that rubbish I usually say- although I hope to the heavens that the book was better. I won’t say that the parental conflict was outstretched, because I think that was the point of the movie.
Now that my context is clear: what I loved about the movie is that it looks good. My sleepy eyes got all the pleasantness it was seeking. While I already thought Arjun Kapoor was hot, I was surprised at how pretty Alia Bhatt also looked- so much so that I couldn’t help but notice how pretty she looked in each scene. Now that I have objectified the actors enough, since this isn’t some sort of a beauty pageant, I’ll now talk about what worked about the movie and what didn’t, for me.
First off, like any Karan Johar movie, the sets were pleasant to look at (okay, I’m talking of the visuals again, but it’s a movie, visuals do play an important part to play!) I particularly liked the inner courtyard that they showed in Ananya’s parents’ house- especially the rain part. It does look that amazing in real life, when it’s raining. Smart move, Bollywood. I also liked the street that they showed. However, the Delhi part was a little questionable. They kept showing an apartment building, but with stairs leading to where?
However, music could have done with a little bit more of Carnatic influence, for all of the apparent emphasis they did give it- might have been a welcome change to the typical Bollywood music, I think. But I did like Ananya’s mother’s mash-up performance. It is something I haven’t come across in a movie.
The acting was, however, phenomenal! Alia Bhatt did a pretty good job, and Arjun Kapoor’s expressions were really good. Revathy, as always was phenomenal, and so was Ronit Roy. Amrita Singh’s loudness was just enough to annoy us, and Shiv Kumar Subramaniam was just the amount of quiet that I would expect the typical Tam Brahm to be. However, the chemistry between the couple was missing. (Think Arjun Kapoor and Parineeti Chopra in Ishaqzaade, and how amazing that was.) However, Alia’s accent was, if she was brought up in a conservative Tam Bram household, supposed to be synchronised to that upbringing when she did talk in Tamil. (I’m not talking of her Hindi. It’s plausible that her Hindi is good, thanks to her being an IIM-A graduate.)
I know absolutely nothing about cinematic techniques, so I won’t delve into that. However, I can talk of the story, the plot and the narrative, and I’ll critique it like a baws. B)
So, firstly, what was the whole deal with the shrink? Where will I find such an elaborate shrink’s office in India? And they got the proxemics wrong- the seats are generally 90 degrees when you’re in a shrink’s office. And we don’t hear from the shrink at all- isn’t she supposed to say something to her client? Even if it were a narrative tool to use a shrink, they could have utilised the tool better, since it’s there- a fundamental in any narrative. They could have done a whole How I Met Your Mother sequence*, because predictably they do end up married. (I’m sure everybody knew the book is called Two States: The Story of My Marriage.) If not, they could have used some other form of flashback sequence. And in my opinion, the constant coming back and narrating the story in apparent parts was pointless.
Secondly, the characters were so flawed, it hurt me. I don’t get Krish’s mum at all. I have never ever had the misfortune to encounter a person as obnoxious and dumb as her. Do such people actually exist? Okay, may be they do. But would you actually greet a guest like that? Especially for somebody who acts like that because her in-laws do not accept her, and yet love her son, she seemed too dumb to not accept someone who his son brings home. It’s the twenty-first century, for heaven’s sake! And your son is an IIM-A graduate- trust him to know what he’s doing.
Ananya’s parents also seemed way too accepting. But, I guess it was just the time talking, and they weren’t as loud about their dislike, which might have been the reason they did seem that way. I don’t know if it was the way Krish and Ananya handled the situation, or the fact that they saw how ‘educated’ Krishh actually was (I say this because they seem to emphasize the fact that “90% Tamilians are well educated” and all that)
However, I also thought that Krish was too accommodating. He felt like he would take whatever came his way silently,except his dad’s shenanigans, and later go and crib about it to his shrink. Ananya, on the other hand was very believable. She wasn’t too strong, but wouldn’t budge like you’d expect her to.
Perhaps, it was because Chetan Bhagat was trying too hard to please his readers- he was self-deprecatingly harsh on himself, But I can’t make a comment on that, having not read the book. So, it might have been Krish being too frustrated, since he was the protagonist, and the whole narrative was in his perspective.
The story, on the whole was not that great- not something we haven’t heard before. The families being in conflict is, on the whole, extremely overdone. However giving it a cultural barrier, with stereotypes as the reason for the conflict was interesting. And overall, it was quite predictable.
Some major flaws in the plot that I observed included how Krish’s dad and mum kind of reunite after what seems to be decades of marital conflict and abuse- talk about a hurried happily ever after. And what was that whole cousin’s wedding speech? For one, would somebody actually listen to some person they’ve never met and let them insult you in front of all the wedding guests? Secondly, would you change your mind about dowry, because, it’s illegal, and once you are exposed, you are kind of screwed? Also, the speech wasn’t that great. Thirdly, if you hear your future husband tell his mother something along the lines of ‘I’ll let you control my wife once we’re married,’ after being insulted by said mother-in-law, you wouldn’t really get back with him. I, for one, would have slapped him. (How sexist!) Or was she so mature that she understood that he was only trying to pacify his mother? Another hanging question was that how did somebody who got insulted everyday by her Carnatic music teacher about not getting the tune and rhythm right everyday a) not give up her lessons, and b) get ready to sing with S P Balasubramaniam and Shankar Mahadevan? I mean, come on! Nobody is that thick. Also, what happened to them?
I also found the typewriter questionable. Where did he get it from in this age? And how does he prefer the typewriter over his laptop? We all know editing is easier on a laptop. Even though I would personally love to own a typewriter, I know I would’t use it when I do have the comfort of a laptop.
However, there were other things that I really did like in the movie- the way Krish slaps his father. It was epic! And overall, the changing relationship between Krish and his father was endearing. It was, at least to me, the best relationship in the movie. The portrayal of a Tam Bram family, also, according to me was justifiably done. At least in comparison to other movies which have gone horribly wrong. So was the portrayal of a broken family. The wedding scene was also well done, as was the last flashback scene, where the two of them sit looking at the shore.
However, it doesn’t stay true to the hype. I’m sure many fans were disappointed. And I also thought that the movie didn’t stay parallel to the book. The whole ‘Read the book to understand the movie’ has become a tad bit old, and let’s face it, for a 250 page paperback, it is completely unnecessary.
So, overall I’d rate it a 5.5/10. The additional point for getting a South Indian family very closely correct included.
*Let’s not talk about the ending of HIMYM.