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Saturday, September 30, 2023

2 States Movie Review

What happens when Dosa is combined with Aloo Gobi? We get 2 states!
As interesting the mixture sounds, the more interesting is the concept of 2 STATES is. However, it is not the first time a movie has adapted a Chetan Bhagat novels as we have seen with HELLO, 3 IDIOTS and most recently KAI PO CHE. As popular the novels are, most of these movie adaptations to a certain extent have also lived up to its popularity. I have read the novel of 2 States at least twice because I loved it immensely. Thus, my expectations are high for the movie!

The story begins with Krish Malhotra (Arjun Kapoor), the Punjabi boy from Delhi who meets the Tamilian city girl from Chennai, Ananya Swaminathan (Alia Bhatt) at IIM college Ahmedabad. The pair strongly fall in love and wish to marry. However Krish’s parents, Kavita (Amrita Singh) and Vikram (Ronit Roy) and Ananya’s parents, Shiv (Shiv Kumar Subramaniam) and Radha (Revathy) oppose to their marriage. Then? The North-India vs South India conflict commences!

One of the ‘wow’ factors of 2 STATES was the sharp and crisp cinematography of Binod Pradhan, who has also done the cinematography for many award-winning movies such as, RANG DE BASANTI and DEVDAS. Once again, Pradhan strikes the audience with his picturesqueness and magical cinematography. A special mention here to the pre-wedding sequences and the scenes when Krish meets Ananya’s parents. The cinematography enhances the direction. If anything, the audience gets a visual treat from the brilliant cinematography.

Another plus point of the movie is the direction by debutant Abhishek Varman. His direction is almost flawless. Whether the situation in the movie is happy or sad, Varman depicts the characters’ emotions with intensity, which allows the audience to relate to every character in the movie. One moment that particularly captivated me, was the scene between the argument between Krish and his father. For me, this was one of the most memorable scenes from the film.

When I first heard the soundtrack of 2 STATES, composed by the multi-talented, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, I was rather surprised to hear the tracks. This is because I felt that the tracks were not exactly commercial, nor did they fully expose the Punjabi-Tamil flavours, as required by the concept of the film. Nevertheless, when I watched the movie, the songs seemed to perfectly compliment various situations in the movie. A few songs which stayed with me after the movie were, Locha-e-ulfat, Chaandaniya, Mast Magan and Offo. Moreover, Tubby-Partik had composed the background score. I felt that it was brilliant, especially during the intense and emotional sequences.

2 STATES completely rested on Arjun and Alia’s shoulders as the main protagonists. If they did not perform well, the movie could have resulted as a dull fare. So do they perform well as Krish and Ananya respectively? Hands down they do! The character of Krish was different for Arjun Kapoor. This is because the audience has seen him portray more aggressive roles like in ISHAQZAADE and GUNDAY. In this film, Arjun has proved that he is indeed a versatile actor, as he can make you laugh, he can make you cry and not forgetting to mention, fall in love! A superb performance by Arjun. Now onto the heroine Alia Bhatt, who quintessentially portrays Ananya. After essaying the bubbly and happy-go-lucky Veera in HIGHWAY, Alia delivers another natural performance, enabling the audience to relate with her character. Her performance reaffirms that she is indeed a talented actress.
When I first watched the trailer and saw Amrita Singh characterising Krish’s mother, I knew from then she would shine in her performance. After hiatus we had seen Amrita Singh on celluloid, and delivers a tremendous performance. This is because we have rarely seen her portray a comical character. Nevertheless, she performs convincingly. Similarly, it was lovely to watch Revathy after a hiatus, and she also delivers a convincing performance as Ananya’s mother.
This is not the first time the audience has seen Ronit Roy essaying the role of a drunkard father. His acting regardlessly encompasses the attention of the audience. Shiv Kumar Subramaniam also delivers a good performance as Ananya’s father. The surprise cast member in the movie was Achint Kaur who depicts the role of Shipra. It was a delight to see Achint on screen and portraying a humorous role.

To conclude, the greatest thing about 2 STATES is that at least 90% of the movie sticks to the novel. The power-packed performances of the cast enhance the simplicity and beauty of the story, while the vivid cinematography and divine songs will steal the audience away. This movie is definitely worth a watch!

* * * * (4/5 stars)

Anuj Radia
Journalist and film enthusiast.

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