‘Phillauri’ is a supernatural comedy drama starring Anushka Sharma, Diljit Dosanjh, Suraj Sharma and Mehreen Pirzada. The movie has been directed by Anshai Lal and is set in Phillaur town in Punjab’s Jalandhar district.
The movie begins with preparations of a big fat Punjabi wedding of Kannan (Suraj Sharma), a Canada-based NRI who has come to India after three years. His family wants him to get married to his childhood sweetheart Anu (Mehreen), but he has his insecurities regarding marriage. This has confused Anu who asks him if he is ready for the marriage, but he asks her to “chill.” The astrologer discovers that Kannan is a maanglik and has to first marry a tree to avoid any complications in his married life. Although reluctant, Kannan gives in to his family’s coaxing and marries the tree, after which the tree is cut-off. But soon Kannan realises that the spirit of Shashi (Anushka Sharma) has been residing in that tree for 98 years and he has unknowingly married the ghost. Kannan gets stuck with Shashi’s spirit, and while dealing with it, he also deals with his own fear and insecurities regarding marriage, as Shashi reveals about her past life. Shashi was deeply in love with the village poet-singer Roop Lal Phillauri (Diljit Dosanjh) during the pre-independence era. However, Shashi’s brother doesn’t find him suitable to marry Shashi, so Phillauri leaves Shashi to prove his worth with the promise of marrying her on return, but he never comes back.
‘Phillauri’ tells two contrasting love stories set in two different time frames – the new age couple Kannan-Anu, and Shahsi-Phillauri from a bygone era, and the movie brings out the contrast remarkably. The narrative is interspersed with Kannan’s present and Shashi’s past, and keeps oscillating between the two eras. Shahi and Kannnan’s interactions are full of fun, laden with humour and comedy. On the other hand, there is drama, love romance and emotion in Shashi and Phillauri’s backstory. It is a well-shot movie with scenes that are visually appealing, and the special effects are great as well. The music is melodious and fits perfectly. The film takes its time to establish the background and the characters, and the pace seems to drop at places, especially post interval. Interestingly, the film also makes a veiled statement about the women folk and the rituals of our country.
As for the performances, Anushka is put up a solid performance as the bride in spirits. Her character has a blend of humour and sadness and had done justice to both her role as the ghost and the strong women of bygone era. Suraj Sharma too has nailed his act and is good with facial expressions, evident in his reactions of marrying a tree and his encounter with the ghost. Debutante Mehreen is delightful in her part.
‘Phillauri’ is a complete family entertainer – full of fun, laughter, love, emotion and drama, and above all, excellent performances by the actors.