No matter what, if the story is not good the film will not work at any cost and this applies to cinema made worldwide not only for Hindi films. There have been films with poor story where either the star power in the film or the exceptional execution of the film saves the film. There have been films where nothing can save the film if it has a weak story and Phillauri is one such film. It has the uniqueness but only in the intentions of the makers not on the paper nor on screen. The idea may sound different since something involving ghosts has not been seen in Hindi films for long time but it has not been served to the audience in a right way.
Phillauri starts off making you clueless about what to expect from the film. Enter opening credits with Mika Singh’s song and that sets the right mood to watch the film. Beginning of the film is strictly decent but you just wait for something more to happen. It fluctuates a lot between good and bad moments in the film. The pace is quite slow and first half of the film hardly offers anything. What it does at the interval is give you lots of hopes to expect some fire works in the second half but disappointment awaits you in the second half. Towards the climax the film manages to grab little of your interest but looses it badly by the time end credits roll.
Film is set in two different eras one is 1919 and another is 2017 so there have to be two stories. None of the story has depth or connects emotionally. Anshai Lal struggles to maintain balance between both the stories. Second half has lot of 1919 but its way too old school and is hardly enjoyable. 2017 is worth a watch just because of Suraj Sharma. Obviously the film goes back and forth in these two eras and for a scene or so it makes you feel that there is some connection between both the eras, sadly there isn’t. Anvita Dutt Guptan’s writing lacks soul and that makes Anahai Lal’s work extremely difficult. His genuine efforts in executing are clearly visible on screen but its the silly story that spoils everything for Phillauri.
Anushka Sharma started growing her fan base with some robust performances in her previous films. Phillauri is an unwanted dip in her performance graph. She acts well and is also adorable as a ghost but just does not manage to impress you enough. Diljit Dosanjh is honest with his performance but fails to create that great impact he created in his first Hindi film. Mehreen Kaur Pirzada hardly has any scope to prove her acting skills. A scene or two in the beginning are good but that’s all about her performance. Suraj Sharma is the star of the film and also the saving grace. He has got his character perfectly right, does not loose the grip of his character even for a single second. He is totally worth watching. You will totally fall for him by the end of the film. The only reason Phillauri could be watched is Suraj Sharma.
Sashwat Sachdev’s compositions make for a great album but the songs simply play a spoilsport in the film. Dum Dum and Sahiba are treat to your ears. Every song in the film act as a barrier and stops the story from moving forward. Most of them seem unnecessary except the ones played in the background. Songs of Phillauri are best enjoyed separately but not while watching the film.
Coming to few good things in Phillauri. The VFX of the film is brilliantly done. If you notice it, it makes you forget that this is a Hindi film. Since we have a great habit of comparing Hindi films to the West this VFX is at par with Hollywood films. Background score of the film is good, it is a different thing that it does not help much in making the film enjoyable. Cinematography is superb, captures 1919 flawlessly. Production design may not be noteworthy but it correctly done. Rameshwar Bhagat worked very hard while editing the film. The film is to the point without beating around the bush even for a second but that does not help in making the film better. Lastly there is very little but genuine humour in the film where you enjoy cracking up on small things.
Overall Phillauri is a weak story, fails to connect emotionally but Suraj Sharma is outstanding in the film. Will recommend to skip this one but if you cannot resist from seeing Suraj Sharma in this one then watch it just for him without spending much.