Even in the most formulaic of products cinema can surprise you to lengths that you could have ever imagined.
2 states is no new story, two people from diverse background fall in love and naturally their parents oppose, how the couple convince their parents form the rest of the tale. Yes, how many times have we seen this story? Yet 2 states gets most things right where others slip.
This writer walked in expecting a clash of cultures, a comedy of manners and other such gags, but that was not the case to be. Usually not one to expect authentic portrayal of south Indians in Hindi films, there was really anything for me to complain about.
Most of the films in the same fashion, in fact even with the same story reduce characters to prickly caricatures, taking ample advantage of existing stereotypes, the troubled couple usually have to tread carefully amidst the culture bushes while not rustling them, but trying to win their approval as well.
It is not to say that 2 states does not take the help of the stereotypes, just that they are not gags, like first you think Mr. Swaminathan is the grumpy simple south Indian dad, then we come to realize that he is not grumpy because he is south Indian, but he is tired of doing others’ work, likewise the “middle-class” minded fast talking groom’s mother also begins as a staple, not unlike many Bollywood Mas; but she too just wants some respect after being mistreated for most of her life. Her issue is really not having a ‘Madrasi’ daughter-in-law, but her fear of losing her son’s love and respect, something her husband could never provide. 2 states aptly bring out the motivations behind the stereotypes rather than just painting them in stock expected colors.
When characters are written with respect, it shows on screen! Even if respect did not allow much time for research, the previous clash of the culture films only seek to bring the differences to one common ground for the benefit of the lovers, so much so that we do not really care in the end if the protagonists get married or not.
In the end it is not the diversity of the cultures that is the hindrance; it is the minds of the people who preferred to be safely walled up in the name of society and culture.
Marriage is about individuals, not about culture. Yes it does involve culture, but it is not to be seen as a solid unmovable entity that shuts out people and selectively allows some in. Culture is a result of individuals, accumulated over the years to make things easier, if it makes life a chore; then a lot of rethinking needs to be done.
Well written characters are essayed by finest supporting actors (Ronit Roy, Amrita Singh and Revathy deserve more than special mentions), while the biggest hurrah must go to the likeable lead, Alia ‘light-in-her-eyes’ Bhatt and the surprisingly effectual Arjun Kapoor.
While the film does stop and get into the usual Bollywood song and dance occasionally, all that is forgiven. Also nobody gets married at the Shore Temple, it is a UNESCO world heritage site for God’s sake.
2 States is immensely pleasant even at its length, a film that rightly captures the scenario while not being either youth-rebellious or teacher-preacher in its handling of marriage, that is an achievement.
Yes it also ends well.
PS: Two paragraphs on how good this Alia Bhatt is, as Ananya Swaminathan was written, it was deleted keeping in mind that Arjun Kapoor(Krish Malhotra) too is amazing. Further problems were averted by using simpler adjectives in the piece.
PS 2: Remind yourself that this film is not an ad for YES Bank and Sunsilk, repeat this again please for your benefit.
PS 3: This writer did not read the Chetan Bhagat novel from which the film was adapted from and thus cannot speak about loyalty to text issues.
X Box: Kya Yaar, we also see Hindi films.