Gehraiyaan review: Messed up story of messed up people

Rating: 2.5/5

‘Gehraiyaan’ is a Prime Video film surrounding the lives of four adults in a city and how they navigate through love, family and work.

Story

Alisha and her cousin Tia reunite after years at a yacht with their respective partners. Yoga instructor Alisha and her boyfriend Karan, a struggling novelist, are fighting to make their ends meet. On the other hand, Tia comes from an affluent family and her fiance Zain is a new-money show-off.

Struggling for breath internally, Alisha realises that life treats her unfairly, which is a major reason for her unhappiness. During the encounter at the yacht and later at Tia’s beach-house, Alisha and Zain find a new spark between them, both somehow unfulfilled in their current relationships.

This dynamic soon spirals into something untangle-able and becomes a violently rotating tornado.

Performances

The performances in ‘Ghraiyaan’ are satisfactory.

Say what you will about Ananya Pandey, the actor does an adequate job in this film, if not a tremendous one. Tia’s character is a rich, kind-of ignorant but naive woman whose main concern in life seems to be a wedding in Tuscany and a pottery class because she’s bored.

Dhairya Karwa as Karan is probably the most sorted character of all. He plays his role well as the forgotten ex-lover and struggling writer.

Zain is a sly but charming man who manipulates people around to get what he wants and Siddhant Chaturvedi makes for a believable appealing fox.

Deepika Padukone being Deepika Padukone, nothing less could have been expected from her. The angst and pain shine through her character. She makes this messed-up character somewhat sympathise-able.

Naseeruddin Shah as Alisha’s father just sells the character. The veteran is just too good. With his limited screen time, he manages to give an emotional impact that was lacking without him in ‘Gehraiyaan’.

The hateful Jitesh, played by Rajat Kapoor, is one of the worst kinds of people. The actor delivers his role with conviction, really making the viewer despise his character.

Positives

None of the characters in ‘Gehraiyaan’ is particularly likeable. Everyone is messed up in their own ways. The director is not making the audience sympathize with them either. But one is sure to find a part of themselves in one way or the other in these confused people.

The visuals of ‘Gehraiyaan’ steal the show. The blue-toned film with tungsten lights on the characters suits the feel of the movie well. It helps the audience feel the sadness and dilemma that the characters are facing. The film uses a voyeuristic pleasure with frame-in-frame shots and multiple shots where the viewers see a scene play out through windows, cracks and doors.

The costumes of the characters are well contrasted with each other and one can easily differentiate between their personalities and backgrounds.

‘Gehraiyaan’ finally crescendos in the final 40-minutes. This unexpected twist is both a welcome change and a sad death of expectation. This change of pace is good as the earlier formula used in the major first half of the film was not working.

But alas, the remaining expectation that this slow drama with the same pace would eventually find its depth also goes out of the window. The movie becomes fun yet without the depth that it promises.

Negatives

The name of the film is ‘Gehraiyaan’, and one would expect some depth. Unfortunately, the characters are always playing in the shallow and never try to reach the deep end. The saddest part is perhaps that they are not one dimensional either. You see what they could have been.

It’s not only the characters but there is something about the whole story of ‘Gehraiyaan’ that just makes it float on the surface. The plot points are never explored very deeply or executed in a way that gives the viewer a sense of depth.

Dialogues like “You’ll have to take a leap of faith sometimes” don’t help either. These kinds of sentences have become stale. It’s a teenager’s perspective of “depth”.

A major part of the movie is mostly slow and boring. Minimalism is very impactful and fun if done right, like ‘In The Mood For Love’. The first two hours of ‘Gehraiyaan’ is sleep-inducing. Even director Shakun Batra’s earlier work ‘Kapoor And Sons’ was a comedic slice of life piece which was not stripped off of meaningful scenes which were enjoyable. ‘Gehraiyaan’, on the other hand, fails to make an impact with the shallowness. Most of the film is a blur.

The word “fuck” has been used in every sentence. Urban people may talk like that but the repetitive use of it in a 150-minute film is mind-numbing and seems unnecessary.

Alisha and Karan are shown to not be rich but they don’t look like it at all. Their home also seems to be pricey, considering it’s in Mumbai.

Verdict

The viewers who enjoy slow-burner films should give ‘Gehraiyaan’ a try. For everybody else, this wouldn’t appeal much.


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