Rom-coms are a pleasurable watch for those who are fond of this genre of cinema. But if you've watched a good number of rom-coms, you will realize how knowable and routine this genre can be. There's a strong possibility that you may have an inkling of what the conclusion might be at the onset itself, but it all boils down to how differently each storyteller executes the subject matter, the chemistry between its lead cast, the sweet-sour-pungent moments entwined in the sequence of events.
In this fast-changing scenario, when the focus is on urban romance and metro-centric themes, parental opposition or clash of caste system have been cut off from the rule books. The conflict, generally, lies in ideological differences. Thinking individuals feel differently and react to situations differently as well. Resultantly, a lot of rom-coms are moving into the realistic or pragmatic zone these days.
Kareena and Imran team up after the much liked and admired EK MAIN AUR EKK TU. Although the pairing won its share of bouquets and brickbats in their first film together, what really draws your attention to GORI TERE PYAAR MEIN! is the fact that it's promos promised a blend of urban and rural India. Will Punit Malhotra pull it off?
Sriram [Imran Khan] doesn't value relationships, family or friends. At some point, Sriram begins to narrate the story of the crazy relationship he shared with Dia [Kareena Kapoor Khan]. His ex-girlfriend. A firebrand social activist who wanted to change the world. An attraction which was physical initially, but then got emotional and finally veered into complex territories, resulting in a clash of ideologies and mindsets, which drove them apart.
However, Sriram realizes that he is not over Dia and still loves her. But Dia has moved on and is now in a village in Gujarat called Jhumli. Sriram lands up in Jhumli to take his love back, but Dia refuses to return with him. Will Sriram be able to win back his love? Will he be able to bring about the change in Jhumli as well as in himself?
Two strangers meet. Fall in love. Part ways. Guy realizes she's the one he wants to spend the rest of his life. He follows her to the heartland to woo her back... Although the premise of GORI TERE PYAAR MEIN! may bring back memories of MAINE PYAR KIYA, DILWALE DULHANIA LE JAYENGE, PYAAR KIYA TO DARNA KYA and the recent RAMAIYA VASTAVAIYA, the fact is there's no disciplinarian/strict father or an authoritarian/controlling brother to win over, to start with. As a matter of fact, Punit Malhotra ensures he doesn't borrow from the first two iconic films at all. GORI TERE PYAAR MEIN! is more of a coming of age movie with a focus on contemporary relationships and interactions.
The first hour of GORI TERE PYAAR MEIN! may give an impression that Punit Malhotra is back on familiar grounds [I HATE LUV STORYS, his directorial debut]: urban setting, wittiness and styling. But the movie wins you over as Imran starts narrating episodes involving Kareena and him. The film gathers momentum with every episode and you're bowled by the simplistic charm the movie possesses at the close of first half [screenplay: Arshad Syed, Punit Malhotra]. The interactions between Imran and Shraddha are wonderful, while the marriage sequence is brilliant.
Punit does an about-turn in the second half, venturing into an unmarked terrain -- a hamlet in Gujarat. The writing has its highs and lows in this hour; it's absorbing at times, but not making much of an impact intermittently. The voyage to the culmination, which should've ideally been the icing on the cake, is erratic, although the film is back on track towards the closing moments. However, there's no denying that the noteworthy moments outweigh the blemishes. You exit the auditorium with a feel-good sentiment and a smile on your face.
Punit Malhotra has matured in his second outing and the growth as a storyteller is obvious in a number of dramatic moments. His handling of relationships gives this film the essential edge. Punit's flair for music was evident in his debut film and the soundtrack [Vishal-Shekhar] of GORI TERE PYAAR MEIN! is equally appealing. 'Tooh', 'Chingam' and the party track at the very outset are already popular with Gen X and you take a further liking for the songs when you watch them in context. Cinematography [Mahesh Limaye] captures the urban scenario as well as the rural setting proficiently. The background score by the ever-dependable Salim-Sulaiman is most apt.
Kareena Kapoor Khan is eye-catching in her appearance and aptitude, both. There's this misapprehension that her character in GORI TERE PYAAR MEIN! is similar to the one she portrayed in JAB WE MET. Nope, not true! She's sorted, strong-headed, extremely focused here, unlike the impulsive character she portrayed in that film. The similarity lies in the fact that Kareena gets ample opportunity to dazzle and leave a mark in the dramatic moments and she delivers a feisty performance indeed. Imran Khan springs a big, big surprise in this one. He is absolutely endearing in a role that appears intricate, to start with. His growth from a carefree youngster to a conscientious man, from a confused lad to a confident guy wins you over. He's charming all through!
Shraddha Kapoor appears in an extended cameo. She is simply adorable. Anupam Kher is top notch in a role that has negative shades. Amongst the supporting cast, Sujata Kumar-Nizhalgal Ravi [as Imran's parents] and Manoj Bakshi-Neelu Kohli [as Kareena's parents] are wonderful. Vineet Kumar, in a brief role, is alright. Esha Gupta appears in a song.
On the whole, GORI TERE PYAAR MEIN! is a charming and refreshing coming of age film plus rom-com rolled into those 2.25 hours. The film maintains the right balance between amusement, hilarity and engaging moments. Recommended!