PHILLAURI is directed by Anshai Lai, starring Diljit Dosanjh, Anushka Sharma, Suraj Sharma and Mehreen Pirzada. A tale of a ghost waiting in the wings, not to let anything change to what was promised.
- What keeps you engrossed to this film is the concept of a friendly ghost and a story of characters who inter-link one way or the other from the past to the present. The storyline is interesting, different and pleasant. The shifting between a past story to a current situation, the film is supported effectively with comedy and romantic feels, but it never forgets the emotion saga behind it all. The film felt balanced to help this spirited scenario to transpire further by keeping the audience intrigued within the concept. The dialogues are a standout, likeable and notable. Many one-liners will remain with you till the end.
- Performances are praiseworthy, each character individually set out their roles and delivered with good conviction. Yes, it is arguable that their character developments could and should have been better but that needs to be pointed out to when the film was being scripted as it adds a damper to some of the performance. But away from the scripting technicalities, the performances overall was a delight to watch, engaging and they keeps you as the spectator lured in and wanting to find out what occurs next. It also seemed evident that the characters all seemed in their elements and not trying to out-perform one another. There were times when Suraj did better than Anushka when in the same frame, so this validates how they all collectively delivered a strong act.
- What bugged me the most was the pacing of the film, several scenes needed cropping once the dialogues ended. It just made it a bit of a drag when it really did not need to be stretched so much. Everything was going fine in terms of dialogues, scenes and performance. The runtime of the movie seems to be what makes it slightly a difficult watch. Better editing would have kept this as a strong engaging film.
- The director had a project with potential, he tries and at some parts succeeds in showcasing a good rom-com film and covering two stories in one. But then there are times where he needed to put in some more impacting and creative elements in to the film to make it a much better watch than what it was. Firstly, the screenplay has so much that the visuals keep the frame busy, but when transitioning from one story to another via flashbacks, more of a better flow would have been suitable. Secondly, the importance of building suspense and thrills even if the ghost is friendly and caring, there were some scenes in the film were Suraj gets scared when he meets Anushka Sharma’s ghost. But as a viewer the pointers that come to mind are that there was not enough to make me scared. I found it too comical and not enough being emphasised on how a ghost would distress one in society whether it is a horror ghost or a friendly ghost. Lastly, the climax is below-par, visually it was a good effort but to wrap a film in such manner, it did not leave an powerful closure or a mesmerizing feel to it.
- DILJIT DOSANJH – Diljit has shown his versatility with a range of roles in previous films and now in Phillauri, a different character he still does justice to it. He was impressive, every time on screen he delivered a strong presence. His on-screen chemistry with Anushka is delightful and adds the romance and expressive elements to the film. His dialogue delivery is attention seeking, very expressive through his eyes in helping the narrative of the film more. His side of the story is slower than the story with the other casts but with Diljit on screen, he is impactful with his acting and body language and that makes it a thoughtful watch. His Sufi poetic kind of persona adds a new dimension in the film and that has been handled really well.
- ANUSHKA SHARMA – A friendly ghost, she was so good in her character. You just don’t want her to disappear in the film. She keeps the entertainment in the scenes and that makes it an enjoyable watch. A character stuck in the past adds simplicity to the present and that has been exploited nicely with her appearance. She manages to shift from happy to sad feelings and that leaves a bearing on the story to transpire further. It also had its setbacks with her character not causing enough drama or chaos at least, a bit more drama surrounding her would have added more to the outcome.
- SURAJ SHARMA – Fantastic performance by Suraj, he was an interesting watch. He keeps the movie flowing and does justice in the story. Being around Anushka Sharma and in a film with Diljit Dosanjh, Suraj manages to keep himself in the minds of the audiences who would naturally pay more attention to the bigger stars. But Suraj kept performing well in his scenes, a sense of realistic acting, nothing over the top and nothing less.
- MEHREEN PIRZADA – Given a slighter lesser role amongst the others who get majority of the screen space, Mehreen does enough to leave a mark on screen. She portrays believable emotions and shows depth in her expressions to dictate her emotions. She is quiet, has to face the burden of the drama that surrounds her husband to be. Her portrayal of the situation is good to view, nothing exaggerated in terms of her acting.
We rate Phillauri 3/5. The film has spirit with the performances, each character leaves a substantial influence and valuable impression. The scripting could have been more better, I felt there were opportunities for more to transpire and definitely some chunks of the film to be taken out as they left no significant bearing to the flow of the movie. The director has done well in portraying 2 parallel stories which later come to link from the past to the present. But the film does not disappoint as it provides a little bit of everything. The comical and light hearted interactions towards serious and emotionally affecting moments, Phillauri is a decent film to enjoy 2 tales in this ghostly experience. The first half is where the fun is, second half is when emotions run high and seriousness grips you in the tale of a friendly ghost. Watch Phillauri for a light-hearted show, expect some fireworks, not too much from this film. Just a different idea with solid performances.