In the aftermath of 'Kal Ho Na Ho', director Nikhil Advani has had to wonder about his films lasting in theaters till the day after their release. Evidently, his challenges have been in script, story, music, performances as well as the hype they generate. Two years after his 'Chandhi Chowk to China' debacle, warning signals were set off with the previews of Patiala House....and rightly so. The issues still persist but what comes as a shocker now, is the lack of originality in story. Patiala House, only decent in some parts, is a dampener of sorts with melodrama etched all over its tired plot.
Far too often have we seen an obdurate father curtailing the aspirations of his talented son who eventually, has to break out. When that talent revolves around cricket, comparisons with 'Iqbal' are inevitable and there, the film falls like wickets on a yorker delivery. Gurtej Kahlon (Rishi Kapoor) confronts the unjust discrimination inflicted upon his family by a group of Englishmen with non-violent protests that called for rights and change. Years later, after making lives better for his community in Southall, Kahlon's obdurate attitude towards the English prevents his son Gattu, from realizing his dreams of playing cricket for England's national team. Forced indirectly into a lifestyle as a shopkeeper, Gattu lives on to adhere to every command of his father's by sacrificing his dreams. As a result of his passive nature, he is not a favorite among his family of dreamers and it all looks hopeless till Simran (Anushka Sharma) enters his life, dominating his decisions and pushing him towards the try-outs for the English team selection.
Anushka Sharma is perhaps the saving grace of the film. Her outspoken, bubbly attitude serve well to contrast the passive, soft spoken Gattu. She looks beautiful and seems to play such a role naturally, like she did in 'Band baaja baraat'. Rishi Kapoor's character is difficult to like even though, he is the most charming actor out there. Akshay Kumar's passive Gattu lacks intensity or a likeable attribute to it. Even his bowling style doesn't have a secret weapon that we can look forward to in every game nor does the game last long enough for us to feel excited.
Helplessly, we look back at the brilliance depicted in Nagesh Kukunoor's 'Iqbal' that had all these elements right, with some great performances but alas; Patiala House fails to deliver the excitement, fun, intensity or the emotional connection that can engage you.
Kyon main jagoon by Shafaqat Amanat Ali is repeated several times and is the only noteworthy track in the album. Even Hard Kaur fails to create magic in Role pe Gaya while the rest of the tracks are just forgettable.
Nikhil Advani has an ensemble cast of cricketers at his disposal with names such as Nasser Hussain, Symonds, Brendon McCullum, Pollard among others. It makes it interesting only in the beginning. Then, when you realize that these cricketers are not really adding any value to the debilitating script through the games, they seem like the rest of the cast.
Another big issue with the film is the melodrama that Advani incessantly bowls at us. We are used to cinematic liberty taken by directors but here, we see dramatic liberty to its extreme. Kaali's final over against Australia lasts long enough for his family to make up their minds to go to the stadium, drive through London, buy tickets and then witness the dramatic last ball. Nikhil Advani is really making fun of his audience.....
Another disappointment for Akshay Kumar and his fans, another flop in Advani's list and a wake up call to other big names who rely on their past credentials to bring the moolah in. It's not going to work.
- 6.43 on a scale of 1-10.