So I didn’t go to Patiala House with any great expectations, especially after having been subjected to Tees Maar Khan - I was not even sure why I was in for gambling my Sunday morning. Aah, the remorse that hindsight brings!
Let me start this one objectively.
Music is an easy one to comment on - I loved the Punjabi feel to the songs with the title number being my favorite of course! However, not too much to write home about. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy have done better stuff, haven’t they?
About the performances: Akshay tries hard but is a little unconvincing as the spineless Gattu who has brushed his dreams under the carpet to follow the diktats of his dad to the T. Anushka Sharma is wonderfully fresh as the gori Simran who brings in a ray of hope for change in the dictator’s set-up. Rishi Kapoor’s fantastic as the tyrannical man of the house, the biased Sikh who cannot erase from memory the racist attacks during his initial years in South Hall, the pind of England. The rest of the ensemble including Dimple Kapadia (who sadly for her caliber gets just one dialogue) has done a reasonably good job as the frustrated yet fiery lot of Patiala House. Kudos to them!
Ok, then, what exactly is wrong with Patiala House – The pace for sure is very sluggish, especially in the first half. Interval time and the story had not progressed at all!
I personally felt the story had potential – the tried and tested formula of the Indian family saga tied with the most popular game of the country (Cricket), along with the Patiala peg and Punjabi festive fervor thrown in… But that spark, the fire, the natural flow was missing – The course of the film is highly erratic - The supposed focus on the father-son relationship is hardly traceable – one minute Rishi Kapoor is dying of a heart attack because his son’s playing for England and the other minute he is cheering for him at the stadium – Ditto for the love equation between Akshay and Anushka – it seems way too forced and bouncy – suddenly she is shouting I love you and I swear to god, Akshay Kumar seemed as shocked as the audience who were like – Already? When did that happen?
The screenplay does not give enough time for the characters and relationships to evolve – the end result being very sketchy with no depth at all! And this is the greatest weakness of the movie.
The striking and the brightest moments are largely towards the end – the showdown between the father and son – between the patriarchal commander and his family, between the tyrant and his wife – the second half is when you can feel a faint tug at your heart (even though Rishi Kapoor steals the show from Akshay).
As for the inspirational angle to the movie – the one about pursuing your dreams no matter what - it is lost in the big fat Punjabi wedding, complete with 1576 (if I remember the number correctly) guests, half of whom are the family members, that forms the backdrop to the unfolding of the story.
The verdict – Not worth your time and money unless you are a die-hard Akki fan. Try catching it on DVD if you will, and put the Fast Forward button to judicious use.
(Image source: Google Images)