There’s a scene in 2 States, where Arjun Kapoor’s character, Krish says that women, be it of any age, cannot survive without melodrama. Well, the same holds true for director Abhishek Varman’s 2 States, which is based on the bestseller, ‘2 States – the story of my marriage’ by Chetan Bhagat, where melodrama paves its way into the narrative every time Krish and his mom (Amrita Singh in a career-best performance, of course after ‘Chameli Ki Shaadi’) are alone. The State 1, i.e. Chennai in the first half ends with a breeze, making one hope that the State 2 would take the film to the next level.
Alas it doesn’t. It instead chooses to almost repeat the same clichés we’have been fed upon since Ek Dooje Ke Liye. As audience, one keeps wondering why they didn’t end this ‘I did so much for your parents now it’s your turn’ affair in the first half. This means we are forced to witness Alia Bhatt’s character Ananya traverse the familiar terrain of kitchen woes and culture shocks.
The surprise element of this film is undoubtedly Ronit Roy as Krish’s father, Vikram Malhotra (who unfortunately has been credited as ‘In special appearance’ in the opening frames). The actor, despite doing an encore of his Udaan’s character, adds a new layer to this otherwise cliché-ridden movie.
Ronit Roy doesn’t play his character, he actually lives it and he owns every scene he appears in, be it a drunkard husband hitting his wife or a concerned father trying to help his son. As an audience, you can feel the character’s emotional turmoil and your heart goes out for him – something you rarely do for a character artist (Calling him a character artist would be an insult here).
Arjun Kapoor makes his Krish believable, likeable and relatable. Pardon the grammatically incorrect and contrived rhyming, but that’s what Arjun Kapoor makes you feel with a performance laced with school boyish sincerity, courtesy writer Chetan Bhagat to come up with such well-defined characters, especially the one played by Amrita Singh.
Revathy and Shiv Kumar Subhramaniam fit the bill as Alia’s parents. There’s a scene where Revathy’s character sings ‘saathiya tune kya kiya’ from the Salman Khan- Revathy starrer, ‘Love’, evokes many a memories of this wonderful actor one adored in the nineties.
Alia Bhatt goes on to prove that she’s the next big thing (Well, she already is) and is on her way to give those Katrinas, Deepikas, Priyankas and Kareenas some serious competition because she has this rare quality that our female actors generally lack – acting skills.
To sum it up, 2 States is surely worth visiting but doesn’t give you reasons to stay there and is definitely far better than the so-called bestseller. As someone who has ‘yawnstakingly’ read up those 267 pages of ‘2 States – The story of my marriage’, I’d advise you to buy the movie ticket purely for its awe-inspiring performances and some peppy music by Shankar Ehsaan Loy to accompany. Bon voyage!