Two States, Three Stages

MUMBAI: Romance is between two individuals but marriage is between two families. For many, this is the moment of realisation and the word ‘adjustment’ replaces ‘romance’. This is true even when just about everything matches in the form of caste, community and status but harder when these matters differ and hardest when a romance is between North and South for that chasm is too deep rooted going back to the Aryan-Dravidian era.

In able hands, Chetan Bhagat stories provide good themes to work on to develop into a film script.  And Two States, based on Bhagat’s novel, Two States: The Story Of My Marriage, aspires to the same feat earlier achieved by the 3 Idiots team. To some degree, it succeeds.

Arjun Kapoor is Krish Malhotra, a typical Punjabi young man from Delhi pursuing his management programme at IIM Ahmedabad where Alia Bhatt, playing one Ananya  Swaminathan, a fellow student, seeks his help with her studies. Romance is inevitable, and it gets more intense by the day. Arjun dreads the day Alia will call hers a sisterly love and offer to tie a rakhi, which is quite a norm in schools and colleges. He wastes no time in confessing his love for her.

Arjun has a reason for his deep love; there is no love at home. The atmosphere there is negative with his father, Ronit Roy, being drunk and violent and easily raising his hand on his mother, Amrita Singh. Arjun avoids interacting with his father and makes sure he gives all his attention to Amrita which she does not get from Ronit. The romance of Arjun and Alia has survived the two years of IIM and grown only stronger but it is time to part as the course is over and they must find jobs. Alia finds one in her hometown, Chennai. Arjun too finds a Chennai posting but Amrita, his mother, wants him to be in Delhi with her. Her plans are to flaunt her IIM graduate son to the parents of all the suitable girls. She dreams of dowries better than all others. But, eventually she relents.

Producers: Sajid Nadiadwala, Karan Johar.

Director: Abhishek Varman.

Cast: Arjun Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Amrita Singh, Ronit Roy, Revathi, Shiv Subramaniam.

Amrita and Alia’s parents, father Shiv Subramaniam and mother Revathi, are introduced at the convocation function and the chance was not worth taking looking at the outcome of that meeting. Now Two States has to go through three stages: Arjun has to win over Alia’s traditional Tamil Brahmin parents. Next, Alia has to come to Delhi and conquer the hearts of Arjun’s family. And, lastly, since marriages are between families, to work on bringing both the families together with positive vibes. Though Ronit is not a party to the events, the third stage, bringing Amrita to like Alia’s parents is the mission impossible because for Amrita there is no girl worthy of her son, least of all a ‘Madrasi’ girl.

The film breezes through while Arjun and Alia romance stage. It is all light moments and humour. Winning over of respective families is fun as both treat it as their respective challenges. The last part has an element of surprise and rounds up the film aptly. While the aversion of North and South parents for each other is amplified and nearly comes to insulting communities, it is justified in the script as both live in their own small worlds. The script provides a sense of feel-good, music is in measured levels, emotions without melodrama, and intense romance that makes other aspects acceptable.

The credit goes to director Abhishek  Varman, who has also worked on adapting the Bhagat novel. Varman has done a marvellous job. Music is in keeping with the mood of situations as well as the film’s youth appeal with lyrics contributing in equal measure. Cinematography is pleasing. However, what makes Two States an endearing watch is the chemistry between Arjun and Alia who come up with amazing performances. Alia is suitably apt in all the shades of her character. Arjun gets his first chance to perform in a solo, more serious role and he does full justice. He has finally arrived. While the credit goes for perfect casting, the artistes, Amrita, Ronit, Revathi and Shiv (he should be seen on screen more often) live up to expectations.

Two States is a youth-oriented entertainer with all the necessary ingredients perfectly balanced to make it a success.

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