Unni and the Box: Gori Tere Pyaar Mein

What happens when two people that never should date end up on the course to marriage? Nothing good, at least not without a few songs, a few flashbacks and a mission.

Gori Tere Pyar Mein, released last Fall, making  it the second directorial project from filmmaker Punit Malhotra. And though I enjoyed the premise and cheekiness of his debut film, I Hate Luv Storys, GTPM, made quite a different impression. What worked well with his first film— a hero that doesn’t take love seriously, falls into a serious kind of love— remains his backbone here, with a few major turns and hiccups. 


Official (Spoilery) Synopsis:Gori Tere Pyaar Mein

View Date: November 2013

In A Word: Inferential

Cast: Imran Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Anupam Kher, Nizhalgal Raviee, Sujata Kumar, Riyan, Sumer

Performance: I do believe there were about three standout things about this film and thankfully, number one landed in the performance category. I don’t believe there was anything exciting or new about this story, but one thing is very clear, Imran Khan has definitely matured as an actor. There are times when you watch actors and notice it takes a minute or two for them to settle into their role, decide on their interpretation or, get their bearings and though Khan is superb as the cynical boy next door I’ve always noticed he was “acting.” But here, there was such confidence in his performance, I’d almost call him magnetic.

Even as a fan, I was a little shocked how much I appreciated his portrayal of Sriam, though I doubt I cared for the character much at all. Likewise for Kareena Kapoor-Khan. I actually never really took stock in Kareena until her performance in Omkara, where I was completely floored with her soft and quiet portrayal of Dolly Mishra, I’d seen her in other roles where I’d noticed a shift in her craft like Kyon Ki but never found myself impressed by her performance. Now she is definitely the most natural actress in her generation and deserves all the praise as such.

However, the actor that I couldn’t keep my eyes off was character actor Anupam Kher. He portrayed this film’s “big baddie” but their was something wonderfully dark and sinister about him. From the moment he was in shot, he commanded every scene but who could expect any less from such a season veteran? Even the even exchange between he and Khan was glorious for you see how seamlessly he delivers, creating a give and take, rather than a push/pull or inevitably acting circles around these youngsters. His character could have been a one-noter but Kher made him ruthlessly indelible.

Lastly, there’s Shraddha Kapoor. The film refers to her cameo as a “friendly appearance” which I believe was a cute way to prepare and justify her existence in half the movie as our hero’s intended. She basically serves as a catalyst and exposition for our main couple’s love story rewind and reunion, while finding her happy ending in the process. And though she’s basically useless in the overall narrative, I still found myself interested in her character and felt a more fleshed out connection between she and Khan’s Sriam would’ve done the film some substantive good.

Verdict:  Gori Tere Pyaar Mein, isn’t much of a rom-com in the traditional sense and I’m beginning to believe in the years to come, this genre will be up for some redefinition. I enjoyed the film but there were elements that stopped me short of really liking it. For there were too many moments where I wondered what this movie really was; a human social piece or a love story, and whether it was failing at both.

There were wonderful elements and the love story of Sriam and Dia was one (because at least one actually existed). From the onset, I believed this could be a miserable repeat of Ek Main Aur Ek Tu but once we delved into the journey of Sriam and Dia, I began to get Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn rom-com hit The Breakup feels and got excited. I found these two people, individuals that never needed to be together and though it was wonderful they tried, it would be fine if in the end, there wasn’t a promise of them patching things up or walking down the aisle. I didn’t think they needed to, though I did believe they snuffed out their romance too quickly which made it hard for any future love relationships to develop.

If you’ve read some earlier reviews, I’m sure you’ve heard that the chemistry between Khan and Kapoor was dialed down to zero in this film and they aren’t entirely wrong. The film starts off fine but the more the director peels back the layers of Dia and Sriam, the less “chemistry” there is to speak of. That is due to the fact, the characters, didn’t have that “meant to be” or “should be” feeling.

From their first meeting, through their relationship, inevitable break-up and subsequent reunion; their fights and disagreements, disappointments and prejudices were all highlights why they should have never dated in the first place. Two people with such a divide in the fundamental things that keeps us humans chugging along, makes for a very stressful and drudging relationship.

However, what I found interesting about Dia and Sriam was neither analysis of the other was incorrect, for Dia was pretension and seemed to be “biding her time” as a social activist and Sriam was a poor lazy little rich boy. And while, I suppose this assessment is what separated them; lighting a fire under Dia to prove to herself she wasn’t “slumming it” by choosing to subject herself to harsher “slumming” and our hero (living up to Bolly fashion) needed an extra push to end his mooching and loafing, hence the travail of the film.

But with all that said, what brought this film to a point of enjoyment for me was in the end it was simply a story about Sriam’s love for Dia. He loved her enough to look in the mirror and stretch himself. To become the kind of man that not only made her happy or laugh but one she respected. And he did that by respecting her. His practicality made another sound decision by choosing what made him a better man.

Lastly, I can’t help but mention, Sriam does make a point in the film that got a resounding agreement from me, when he tells Vasudha (his arranged fiancée) that relationships were about more than love, that choosing someone, outside of your family’s cultural mores would bring more problems and that love is only a minuscule part of starting and joining a family. The film however, takes issue with his “practicality” by diminishing his argument to the rambling a of a heartbroken bitter man. Unfortunately, for GTPM no matter how broken, bitter or batty, Truth remains just that.

Gripe: There are a few very glaring issues with this film, but besides this film being a twinge boring, the most jarring aspects of this film were with Dia’s quirks and how it was used to express her maturation or evolution in the film. Her “face-palm” gesturing was just plain annoying. This gesture was representative of an innate expression of a hidden dense behavior, lack of awareness, aspiration or you know, just cause —- and it was horrible. Not because Kapoor was unable to pull it off (though that is true) but because it felt like an inconsistency within the characterization of Dia. And that, I believe was what made it harder for the actor to portray it seamlessly.

However, it’s unsubtlely apparent the gesture was added to the character in order to make the audience visually aware of an easy-going but thoughtless idiosyncrasy in Dia that would later be subtracted shortly after her fall out with Sriam. Unfortunately, it just didn’t work for me. Why you ask? Because Dia wasn’t thoughtless, or bumbling and to top it off, once she gets to Gujarat, the only thing that changes about Dia, is her demeanor [read: from sanguine to serious].
For, her overall pristine modern girl look stays the exact same, from her manicured nails and perfect makeup to pricey attire, which overall was the largest eyesore in the entire second half of the film.

Recommendation: Films, and especially rom-coms have to sell couples and this one does not, at least not in the way it should. However, if you like stories that seek to sell that “love” conquers all, then perhaps this is the film for you. For, it can’t a “bad” film, nor is it a waste of time. It just doesn’t fit the  “feel-good” cute rom-com model that most are looking for. Ultimately, this film should be watched for the interesting color palette, the beauty of the ladies and the actors’ screen presence. And of course, the best motivator is when all is said and done, it’s just wholesome entertainment.

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