Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. and Dharma Productions Pvt. Ltd.’s 2 States (UA) is the love story of a Punjabi boy and a Tamil girl. Krish Malhotra (Arjun Kapoor), a Punjabi boy, and Ananya Swaminathan (Alia Bhatt), a Tamil Brahmin, meet in college in Ahmedabad and fall in love. They don’t envisage the problems they will face from their families because of the cross-cultural marriage.
Krish hails from a dysfunctional family. His father, Vikram Malhotra (Ronit Roy), does not get along with his simple mother, Kavita (Amrita Singh), who silently bears the humiliation and even physical torture heaped on her by her husband. Since Krish’s sympathies lie with his mother, he has come to hate his father from the core of his heart. Kavita Malhotra dreams of a rich fat wedding for her educated son and has no qualms in admitting that she hopes, the to-be bride would bring good dowry. Ananya’s family is sophisticated and educated. The parents of both, Krish and Ananya, don’t take to the news very well when they are told about the same at the convocation ceremony of Krish and Ananya. The tension is palpable because of the cultural differences between the two families.
Anyway, Krish takes up a job in Chennai because Ananya gets a job there. Since Ananya lives with her parents in Chennai, Krish often visits her home and succeeds in winning their confidence. Why, he even gets them to agree to give their daughter’s hand in marriage to him. Krish returns to Delhi with Ananya to attend the marriage of his cousin, Minti. Krish’s mother is not at all happy with Krish’s fondness for Ananya and misses no opportunity to ridicule her. All that changes when, on the day of Minti’s marriage, Ananya comes to the rescue of Minti’s parents and makes her to-be husband, Duke, convince his parents to not demand a bigger car in dowry.
The stage now seems to be set for the wedding of Krish and Ananya. But matters go out of hand completely when Kavita Malhotra vents her frustration in front of Ananya’s parents. In disgust, Ananya walks out on Krish. Since Ananya’s parents are completely disgusted with the behaviour of Krish’s mother, there’s no way, they would relent. And Krish has no way of making his mother see reason while his father, in any case, had not approved of his love affair in the first place.
Will the two love birds unite in matrimony? Who will play the catalyst to diffuse the tension between the two families?
The film is based on Chetan Bhagat’s 2 States: The Story Of My Marriage. The story is universally appealing as even today, in an age when inter-caste, cross-cultural and even inter-communal marriages are quite common, family tensions relating to such marriages are not uncommon. The adapted screenplay, written by Abhishek Varman, is interesting, especially once the tension between the two families manifests itself. The budding romance in the college is alright but it could’ve been fresher and more entertaining. The light scenes in the first half are funny at places but at other places, they don’t evoke the desired laughter. However, the pace picks up after interval and the drama also becomes more interesting once the portion of the parents begins. The tension between the two families and also the tension within Krish’s family – old and new – which unfolds on the screen is very engaging. While the hostility between Kavita Malhotra and Ananya’s parents is entertaining, that between Kavita and husband Vikram Malhotra is pretty engrossing. The latter part of the drama also has its share of emotional moments. All in all, the second half of the drama definitely scores over the first half and completely entertains the audience. The look and feel of the film is very city-centric which is why it would appeal more to the audience in the big cities and those frequenting multiplexes. Dialogues, penned by Hussain Dalal, are very appealing and often add to the dramatic impact.
Arjun Kapoor does an ordinary job of Krish Malhotra. He is quite laidback in his approach and does not believe in changing his expressions or modulating his voice to the desired extent, which make it appear as if something is holding him back. He, nevertheless, stands out in the scenes in which he interacts with his father. Alia Bhatt delivers an endearing performance, using her body language and facial expressions to great advantage. She has looked cute and innocent, which is the demand of the character. Ronit Roy performs just too brilliantly. As Vikram Malhotra, he evokes hatred for himself in the minds of the viewers. Although he doesn’t have too many scenes, he shines brilliantly. There are a couple of scenes in which one can hear his dialogues but not see him throughout – and it is in such scenes that the man’s genius gets underlined. Amrita Singh is excellent in the role of Kavita Malhotra. It is sheer delight to watch her perform. She uses her eyes to great advantage to express different emotions at different times. Revathy gives a dignified performance. She looks the character she plays and does full justice to it. Shiv Subramanyam does a fair job as Ananya’s father. Achint Kaur is effective as Krish’s maternal aunt. Aru K. Verma (as Duke), Madhu Chandok (as Duke’s mother), Nikita Hingorani (as Minti), Ashwin Kaushal (as Duke’s father), Major Bikramjeet Kanwarpal (as Rajji mama), Mansi Multani (as Dolly), Neeru Chopra (as Kamla mami), Yashwant Singh (as the professor), Sanjay Bhatia (as the mess worker), Suresh Venkat (as Balakrishna Rao) and the rest provide fair support.
Debut-making director Abhishek Varman shows his sensitive and mature side in the handling of scenes involving the elders in the family. The youthful scenes could’ve been better handled, though. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s music is very good but not super-hit. ‘Locha-e-ulfat’, ‘Chaandiniya’ and ‘Iski uski’ are fast-paced songs which are quite appealing. The ‘Mast magan’ song has a lot of lilt. Amitabh Bhattacharya’s lyrics are weighty. The Tamil lyrics (and dialogues) are by Niranjan Iyengar. Song picturisations (by Remo D’souza) are alright and deserved to be better. Tubby-Parik’s background music is very effective. Binod Pradhan’s camerawork is of a high standard. Amrita Mahal Nakai’s sets are neat and nice. Namrata Rao’s editing is sharp.
On the whole, 2 States is an entertaining love story which will definitely work at the box-office – more in the cities and with the multiplex audience. With almost 80-85% of its entire cost (of producing, promoting and releasing) recoverable from non-theatrical sources, reaping a rich harvest should be a cakewalk for the producers as its theatrical business will also be good. Business in Overseas will be very good, additionally because of the Easter weekend. The film’s distributors and exhibitors will all make decent profits in the film.