Phillauri Movie Review
Move over Casper. Bollywood gets its own friendly neighbourhood ghost in Phillauri. She had been residing in a particular tree in Punjab since pre- independence era and is set free when a Canaeeda (thats how Punjus pronounce it) return dude (Life of Pi’s Suraj Sharma) is forced to marry that tree to ward off bad luck.
Naseerudin Shah played the helping ghost to Shah Rukh Khan in the still enjoyable ‘Chamatkar’ (1992) but his redemption was revenge. Phillauri showcases a love seeking ghost Shashi who wants to reunite with her singer amour (Diljit Dosanjh) who deserted her on wedding day.
Like Imtiaz Ali’s ‘Love Aaj Kal’ (2009), the film oscillates between the present and past (shot in the now too familiar sepia tone). While the present has a commitment phobic couple, the past deals with a vagabond singer who reforms himself after falling in love with the poet (Anushka before turning bhoot) who provides lyrics to his voice .
On paper, the story had solid potential to be a winsome ‘bhootiya’ comedy but alas, debutant director Anshai Lal fritters away that opportunity by keeping a slower than snail pace which leads to boredom. Some scenes appear disjointed due to patchy editing. Comparably, Amol Palekar’s ‘Paheli’ (2005) had more spunk in the spirit (pun intended!).
On the positive, producer – actor Anushka Sharma is simply brilliant as the friendly ghost. She lifts the film to a cut above the commonplace. Diljit Dosanjh, a super fine actor that he is, rises above the script to deliver an effective performance. On the other hand, Suraj Sharma is absolute teak just like the tree he’s married to in the movie.
It’s nice to see Raza Murad Saahab after a long time in a cameo.