Gehraiyaan: Confused yarn about confused characters

Four characters form the pivot of Gehraiyaan. Photo: Instagram / Deepika Padukone

Meet Alisha (Deepika Padukone), she of the middle-class, independent life, who dresses in expensive, abbreviated clothes, and has designed an app to improve physical fitness. Despite being a Yoga trainer, her life is anything but spiritually, emotionally or morally disciplined. She is living with a boyfriend for six years, Karan (Dhairya Karwa), a wannabe author, in Mumbai, having alienated herself from dad (Naseeruddin Shah) who lives in Nashik. His wife (Pavleen Gujral) has committed suicide and Alisha has blamed her dad for it.

Alisha’s cousin Tia (Ananya Panday) has been living abroad, and is in a relationship with Zain (Sidhant Chaturvedi), an entrepreneur of sorts. Tia owns a super property in Alibag (referred to as “Alibaug” as this is an urbane, chic film, get it?). The four decide to meet there when she comes down, and Zain has rented a deluxe yacht for themselves and his clients.

Sparks fly when Alisha and Zain meet, and from harmless flirting they move to loads of sex and finally love. This happens when Tia has gone abroad temporarily to look into her late father’s financial affairs. From here, the two couples’ relationships turn volatile and both break up with each other’s flames.

Zain even finances Alisha’s app (which is not getting takers, money-wise) and her Yoga studio. But after that, he and business partner Jitesh (Rajat Kapoor) land in a mess as one of their investors is arrested for money-laundering. From here to the end, things get into a vortex of emotions, sorrows and redemption at a personal level between ex-lovers, father and daughter and even the cousins.

From its beginning to the long-winded end (the film goes on for 148 minutes when 30 could have been easily cut off!), we get one long panorama of repeated sex scenes (they have, as per current trends, an intimacy director in Dar Gai—which dos not mean ‘she is frightened’, but Dar is to be pronounced as in Car!), shots of turbulent waves in the sea waters, “realistic” conversations and happenings that do nothing other than subtract the drama and add ennui, and confused directions in which the overtly confused characters go, thanks to strange motivations.

There are two surprises—the better one almost 15 minutes before the end, but it comes too late to validate itself in terms of the script, and is connected to Vinod Khanna! No, that’s not a typo—it is Naseeruddin Shah’s screen name!

The script is thus woefully inadequate in depth (the meaning of the title, ironically, is ‘depths’!) and remains in the superficial mode of Shakun’s debut film Ekk Main Aur Ek Tu. The emotions are superficial and once just cannot empathize with Deepika Padukone’s breakdowns (largely engineered by her own actions) or Siddhant Chaturvedi’s outbursts and calculating moves, whether in romance or business. The man seems little more than a bed-hopper caught in a gold rush where the end justifies the means.

The last 15 years has seen a surfeit of such superficial dramas where flawed characters are explored and finally justified and glorified in the name of realism. And this film adds to this lot, each unequivocally rejected by the intelligent audience!

Having said that, Shakun as director is ironically getting better at extracting performances! Though her character ultimately pans out as hollow, Deepika Padukone gives it her all, and is specially good in the scenes after her pregnancy, the graph ascending until the last scene with Ananya, which is fantastically done only with her expressions.

Siddhanth Chaturvedi is just alright, and Dhairya Karwa is shortchanged with one of the most unimpressive debuts in recent times. The surprise is Ananya Panday, who gets a flimsy role but impresses big time. Naseeruddin Shah improves upon a similar sketchy character in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, while Rajat Kapur is wasted. The rest of the characters really do not matter, just like this film’s execrable songs.

Neither, if you think about it, does the film.

Rating: **

Amazon Prime Video presents Dharma Productions’ Gehraiyaan   Produced by: Hiroo Johar, Karan Johar, Apoorva Mehta & Shakun Batra Directed by: Shakun Batra  Written by: Shakun Batra, Ayesha DeVitre Dhillon, Sumit Roy & Yash Sahai  Music: OAFF (Kabeer Kathpalia) & Savera Mehta  Starring: Deepika Padukone, Siddhant Chaturvedi, Ananya Panday, Dhairya Karwa, Naseeruddin Shah, Rajat Kapoor, Vihaan Chaudhary, Pavleen Gujral, Kamal Adib, Mohini Kewalramani, Shereena Master & others




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