Punjabi boy meets Tamilian girl. Love happens. And then comes the drama.
If you’ve seen the trailer of “2 States” or read the book on which this film is based, you already know where this film is heading. It is not enough that the bride and groom wish to wed and live happily ever after. The parents won’t let them. We take the culture clash between the North and the South and run with it. The guy’s mother is horrified that her darling son wants to marry a “Madrasan”, and the girl’s mother is convinced that the “uncultured Punjabis” will make her daughter’s life miserable. Ananya Swaminathan (Alia Bhatt) and Krish Malhotra (Arjun Kapoor) try and bridge the cultural divide but find that it is an ever widening chasm which seems to grow whenever the parents set sight of each other.
“2 States” gets deep and dirty in all matters cultural. So yes, you have Krish describing Ananya’s parents’ simple house as one bereft of furniture, and you have Ananya wondering at Krish’s relatives named “Minty” and “Duke”. Then we get dirtier. Out come the barbs about dowry, skin color, and “netting handsome Punjabi men”. And on and on it goes.
You’d think that all this back and forth of cultural insults would get taxing after a while. It is to the lead pair’s credit that it doesn’t. Both Arjun and Alia present a realistic and endearing picture of a couple in love. While Arjun Kapoor could be a better actor, Alia Bhatt comes through with flying colors – all beauty and mischievous charm. And then there are Revathy and Amrita Singh as the mothers, who add a sheen of class to this film. Ronit Roy does well in his irate, father-figure role, exuding a simmering anger even in his most restrained scenes.
This film works because it so effectively portrays people like us. Those cultural issues are true; we know they are. Yes, the film does gloss over over serious issues like dowry, domestic abuse and the skin color prejudice, but one step at a time I say – this is a Karan Johar production after all. Let’s hope the next time the director has the guts to portray Ananya as a dusky beauty AND a strict vegetarian, and really take the bull by the horns.
The film has some good music, and humorous cultural digs are made at both parties. “2 States” is a fun entertainer – highly recommended.