2 States Movie Review by Taran Adarsh


Inter-caste relationships/marriages aren’t new for Bollywood. Till a few years ago, it was a regular template essential to make a Hindi movie work. Recall EK DUUJE KE LIYE, attempted more than three decades ago. The much-in-love couple — the South Indian guy [Kamal Haasan] and his North Indian beloved [Rati Agnihotri] — encountered a storm when their families got wind of their romance. More recently, in the hugely-admired VICKY DONOR, the Punjabi mom [of Ayushmann Khurrana] and the Bengali father [of Yami Gautam] voice apprehensions when they learn of their respective kids’ stance of having an inter-caste marriage. Are we still conservative when it comes to matters of heart and marriage?

2 STATES is based on Chetan Bhagat’s bestseller ‘2 States: The Story Of My Marriage’ and since the film is set in the present times, when a lot of people have liberal viewpoints on love and marriage, one wonders why the principal characters — the North Indian boy [Arjun Kapoor] and his South Indian sweetheart [Alia Bhatt] — do not oppose their parents’ wishes and get married? Both are in love, both are free-thinking individuals, both have lucrative jobs and aren’t dependent on their respective families… so what’s the hitch? Conversely, in this day and age, why do *some* people feel that since their kid has done so well in life, he/she deserves a partner from their own community?

2 STATES, directed by Abhishek Varman, attempts to answer the varied questions crossing the minds of the lovers and their respective families. The love birds here are no rebels. Instead, they decide to persuade their families, win their trust, besides making the families overcome the prejudices and misconceptions of cultural differences. In a way, the film motivates you to look beyond the community — a message that comes across vigorously towards a vital stage in the film.

Let’s enlighten you about the plot of the film! Love marriages around the world are simple. Boy loves girl. Girl loves boy. They get married. It’s different here… Boy loves girl. Girl loves boy. Girl’s family has to love the boy. Boy’s family has to love the girl. Girl’s family has to love the boy’s family. Boy’s family has to love the girl’s family. And if things fall into place, the couple gets married…

2 STATES is a story about a journey of one such couple, Krish Malhotra [Arjun Kapoor] and Ananya Swaminathan [Alia Bhatt]. They meet at the IIM-Ahmedabad and fall in love. Complications arise when they decide to get married. Krish and Ananya belong to two different states of India: Krish is a North Indian Punjabi boy from Delhi, while Ananya is a Tamil Brahmin girl from Chennai. They take a conscious decision; till their parents don’t agree, they won’t get married.

Everything goes downhill when the parents meet. There is a cultural clash and the parents oppose the wedding. To convert their love story into a love marriage, the couple faces a tough battle in front of them. For, it’s easy to fight and rebel, but much harder to convince. Will Krish and Ananya’s love for each other sustain the battles? Will they manage to convince their parents?

Director Abhishek Varman stays faithful to Chetan Bhagat’s bestseller, adapting it delightfully on the big screen. The diverse cultures, the discomfort and the pressures when people talk of inter-caste liaison, the unyielding love and the resolve to win the parents’ trust… each and every aspect — the emotions included — are captured meticulously by the storyteller. Abhishek also makes us peep into the mindset of the two families, highlighting the doubts that arise in such a scenario, yet he makes sure he doesn’t belittle or demean any community in the process.

Abhishek makes a significant debut as a storyteller. His eye for detailing, the sensitivity with which he handles relationships, the complex story that he narrates without resorting to gimmicks catches your attention. The story flows seamlessly, the sequence of events follow a rhythm, the balance between the couple’s desire to get married and their mission to make things work between the two families is picture perfect. Having said that, one shouldn’t overlook or sidestep the contribution of the writer [Chetan Bhagat], who packs in ample meat for cineastes looking for relevant and relatable, yet engaging and entertaining stuff at the same time.

The soundtrack [Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy] gels beautifully with the genre. While a couple of compositions are harmonious, you relate to the songs more when you view them in context. Binod Pradhan’s cinematography bathes every single frame in lush colors, making it a visually enticing experience. Hussain Dalal’s dialogue are articulate and convey the emotions wonderfully.

2 STATES is a complete departure from the genre of films Arjun Kapoor has featured to date [ISHAQZAADE, AURANGZEB, GUNDAY]. This one is more real, demands that he shed the unwanted baggage of the conventional hero and interpret the character with complete understanding. Arjun steals the show with an effortless, charming and convincing portrayal. He’s gonna surprise a lot of people with this film, for sure. Alia Bhatt proves yet again that she doesn’t need a dialogue to communicate; her eyes and expressions do the talking. Also, post HIGHWAY, Alia gets yet another complex character to prove her mettle and she does a super job of interpreting her character with aplomb.

The supporting cast is consistently first-rate. Ronit Roy sparkles in a difficult-to-portray character. Amrita Singh is terrific as the dominating mother. A role she enacts so wonderfully, she deserves brownie points for it. Revathy leaves a stamp every time she appears on screen. She’s fantastic! Shiv Subramanyam hits the right note as Alia’s father. I’d like to make a special mention of Achint Kaur, who stands out in a brief but vital role.

On the whole, 2 STATES is one of the finest movies to come out of the Hindi film industry of late. This is one of those rare Hindi movies that commands a repeat viewing. Strongly recommended!

  1. aryan 7 years ago

    2 States Movie Review by Meena Iyer/TOI

    Story: Punjabi boy and Tamilian girl discover love on their college campus. However, their diverse cultures make its culmination a challenge.

    Review: For an audience that has been around from the ’80s, debutant Abhishek Varman’s ‘2 States’ may seem like they are revisiting K Balachander’s mega hit ‘Ek Duuje Ke Liye’ (1981), where the Tamil boy had to cross endless hurdles to patao the Punjabi girl. However, that movie had too much angst and a tragic end.

    2 States is a happy film (with measured anguish). Romance in cross-cultural or even cross-border situations isn’t new to Bollywood. What makes 2 States work is the simple narrative told humorously. Adapted as it is, from one of author Chetan Bhagat’s best-selling works, the film, just like the book before it, is light-hearted. Chetan’s funny one-liners and life-view are studiously borrowed by the director for his screen outing. And though there is a sense of deja-vu, for those who have read the book, the movie still manages to charm and surprise.

    Krish Malhotra (Arjun) and Ananya Swaminathan(Alia) meet on the IIM Ahmedabad campus. Sparks fly between economic coaching and food poaching. Their tender love, compulsive copulation and kissing chemistry (adeptly portrayed by the young screen lovers) make this couple reason that they could spend a lifetime together. But in India, where tradition and parents are nurtured, couples have to literally marry each other’s families.

    Incidentally, for those in an inter-caste marriage, this movie could resonate like your own tale. The playful digs at each other’s cultures, the self-deprecating remarks about one’s family and community are all laugh-out-loud moments. Amrita-Ronit, Revathi-Shiv Subramaniam infuse life into their roles of the Punjabi and Tamil parents. The spitfire Alia and a sober Arjun are also lovable. If you are in a mood for a Bollywood family saga with measured melodrama and the right amount of naach-gaana, visit 2 States.

    Rating: 4/5


  2. Author
    sputnik 7 years ago

    So far the few reviews are good and KJo is tweeting positive reviews of celebs but according to Navjot Gulati the movie is not good.

  3. Author
    sputnik 7 years ago

    2 States Movie Review by Rajeev Masand

    Rating: 2.5

    April 18, 2014

    Cast: Arjun Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Amrita Singh, Ronit Roy, Revathy, Shiv Subramaniam, Achint Kaur

    Director: Abhishek Varman

    Madrasis are dark, Punjabis are cash-obsessed, and never the twain shall meet. Those familiar prejudices make for a legitimate movie pitch, but 2 States, directed by first-timer Abhishek Varman, is a frustrating case of a promising premise that doesn’t fully fructify into a compelling film.

    Adapted from Chetan Bhagat’s autobiographical novel, the film coasts along nicely while focusing on Krish (Arjun Kapoor) and Ananya (Alia Bhatt), who meet on campus at IIM Ahmedabad and quickly fall in love. These portions are handled with appropriate lightness, and the actors share a comfortable chemistry as they sing songs, make gooey eyes at each other across the classroom, and slip under the sheets without much fuss. Speed bumps arise when the couple gets ready to step out of campus and into the real world to pursue jobs and a shared future. A shrewdly orchestrated Graduation Day meet-and-greet between the Malhotras and the Swaminathans goes badly. The Tam-Brahms (Revathy and Shiv Subramaniam) immediately label Krish’s Punjabi side “uncultured”, even as his overbearing mum (Amrita Singh) goes on and on about their daughter having “phansaoed” her “gora chitta” son.

    It’s funny at first, the film’s politically incorrect humor, because it feels all too familiar. But joke after joke, stereotype after stereotype, what becomes evident is the absence of any real dramatic conflict. You’re tired and bored, and you really wish they’d get on with it, when the parents clash again, even after Krish has won over Ananya’s family (in a charming scene where he proposes marriage to the whole lot of them), and despite his mother having finally warmed up to his girl (after Ananya saves the day in a sticky dowry-demand situation).

    What works are stray moments of wit that the film needed more of. Varman scripts a clever in-joke into a scene where Ananya’s mother is coerced by Krish to sing at his office event. In an earlier scene, while describing Ananya’s vast but sparsely furnitured home, Krish says: “Jaise kisi Punjabi ke ghar mein chori hui ho. Choron ko sofa acha nahin laga toh chhod gaye.”

    Despite the stereotypical characterization, Revathy and Shiv Subramaniam nicely fill out their parts, although they have far less to do than Amrita Singh, who is deliciously rude as Krish’s obnoxious mum. Ronit Roy as his alcoholic, abusive father appears to have stepped straight out of Udaan, but he brings with him a half-baked, unconvincing subplot that comes off as a last-ditch effort to infuse dramatic tension.

    Stuck holding up the film’s muddled framing device – he narrates the entire story in flashback while on a shrink’s couch – Arjun Kapoor gets a few endearing moments when he’s playing off his leading lady. For the rest of the film, he wears a puppy dog look, trapped between the girl he loves and the mother who’s dead against her. Not surprisingly, it’s Alia Bhatt who is the best thing in the film, sliding into the part with complete ease. She’s natural and charming without having to try too hard.

    Parental opposition is one of the oldest conflicts as far as love stories go. Sure, the culture clash here gives us some genuine laughs. But at 2 hours and 30 minutes, this is a long, indulgent film that wears you out. I’m going with two-and-a-half out of five for 2 States. I’ve never rooted so hard for a couple to get married. If only so I could go home.


Leave a reply

Log in with your credentials

Forgot your details?