Soap opera for younger generation

Soap opera for younger generation

Soap opera for younger generation

2 States  **

Hindi, U/A

Director: Abhishek Varman

Cast: Arjun Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Revathy, Amrita Singh, Ronit Roy, Shiv Subramaniyam

There's a common myth about a work of fiction being made into a film: The on-screen adaptation is rarely better than the book. Notable exceptions are the first two “Godfather” films, even more so because of the book they are based on. 

Chetan Bhagat's “2 States” and Abhishek Varman's screen adaptation thereof stand on the other end of the spectrum. 

And the creative liberties the debutant director has taken while making a mostly mediocre book into a film has only introduced needless melodrama. 

In the end, the film itself has become a chain of uncomfortable and awkward situations, a la the soap operas that dot the afternoon viewing schedule of every Indian housewife. The only difference is that the characters are younger in nature, and hence appeal to the younger audience. 

Let's compare notes between the printed and on-screen version of “2 States”. IIT alumnus and true-blue Punjabi Krish Malhotra (Arjun Kapoor) meets the rebel Tamil Brahmin Ananya Swaminathan (Alia Bhatt) while studying in IIM, Ahmedabad. Though seemingly opposites of each other, they fall in love, decided to marry, and get their families together to give the matrimonial process a push. 

Krish's mother (Amrita Singh) is every bit as large-hearted but racist in the film as in the book. 

The same can be said of his father (Ronit Roy), who seems to be relishing his negative turns these days. However, Ananya's mother (Revathy) comes across as much less stern than in the books, and her father (Shiv Subramaniyam), too, seems underdeveloped as a character in the film. 

Director Varman, who also adapted the book to the film, seemed to have missed quite a few interesting points. In the process, the audience gets a lighter-than-popcorn story. 

The laughs are few and far between, the music is peppy but not entirely memorable, and the background score has elements that often sound like pesky ringtones. 

None of the actors rises so far beyond the call of his or her character for their acting to be lauded. Ronit Roy does manage to get the audience to hate him, but it's a shadow of his bad-to-the-bone act in “Udaan”. 

The histrionic powerhouse that is Revathy seems underutilised. Amrita Singh's typical-Punjabi-mom act too somehow fails to connect. 

In all, “2 States” has so many things going against it that the audience were better off not going for it. Even the DVD might not be worth waiting for!

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