Gehraiyaan Movie Review: Refreshing but not satisfying
Cast: Deepika Padukone, Siddhant Chaturvedi, Ananya Pandey, Dhairya Karwa
As someone who instantly falls in love with complex characters and messed up emotions, Gehraiyaan did work for me. Shakun Batra’s much-awaited directorial Gehraiyaan may seem like a nuanced tale on adultery and infidelity but it actually steps back to evaluate how unhealed past traumas control our decisions and actions. And that is one of the reasons that the film stands out.
The movie opens with some memories from Alisha and Tia’s childhood, where everything looked seemingly good and happy except Alisha’s mother. We are hinted at the childhood trauma of Alisha right there. And after a few minutes, the movie jumps to the present, where Alisha lives with her boyfriend in a not-so-comfortable apartment in Mumbai. We get glimpses of Alisha’s unhappiness in the mundaneness of her life and how it lacks any excitement. Alisha’s boyfriend Karan has left his job in advertising to write a novel, but it doesn’t seem to go anywhere. The responsibility of running the household is now on Alisha’s shoulder and with no progress in her career and six-year-long relationship, Alisha struggles to make peace with her boring life.
Tia, Alisha’s cousin on the other hand is leading a very happy life (or at least that’s how it seems). With education from abroad, a rich lifestyle, a destination wedding planned in Tuscany, Tia has everything that Alisha doesn’t. Maybe this is why she gave in when Tia’s fiancé Zain developed a liking for her. But there’s more to the attraction that Zain and Alisha feel. They both feel incomplete with their partners, like a misfit in their lives. Alisha and Zain also bond over the unhealed trauma from the past.
Things escalate quickly between Alisha and Zain and things get messed up. Though it may appear that Gehraiyaan romanticizes adultery, it actually doesn’t. The second half of the film is all about how uncontrolled emotions and actions can ruin the lives of people we love. The film, in the second act, took a turn I was least expecting. It gets dark and disturbing, creating a whole new mood. The last fifteen minutes of the film is where the soul of Gehraiyaan lies. The scene where Alisha pours her heart out to her father (Naseeruddin Shah) is intense and therapeutic. Naseeruddin Shah gives a mystic halo to the character which unveils its real self only in this scene.
It is impossible to imagine anyone else as Alisha. Deepika Padukone works her charm as an impossible goddess adding another indelible character to her best works. Tia is Ananya Pandey’s best performance so far. But she comes across as too young for the character. Siddhant Chaturvedi as Zain is mighty impressive. The chemistry between Alisha and Zain works out well too. Dhairya Karwa has little to offer throughout the film as his character Karan just comes and goes in between.
The camera work of Gehraiyaan needs a special mention here. The camera moves and lingers in a fashion that gives us profound insight into the feelings of the characters, helping us understand what they are going through.
The music of Gehraiyaan is refreshing and blends with the narrative perfectly.
Gehraiyaan, however, is not director Shakun Batra’s best work. From a man who has done films like Kapoor & Sons and Ek Main Aur Ek Tu, better can be expected.
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