The ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 is around the corner. The excitement among fans is humongous as we are a few days away from the opening match. So it's perhaps a great move to release a film with a cricket theme, just before the big tournament.
While we've seen many films based on cricket (LAGAAN, VICTORY, IQBAL), PATIALA HOUSE is different as it's primarily a father-son conflict, having cricket as it's backdrop.
34-year-old Parghat Singh Kahlon aka Gattu (Akshay Kumar) had given up his dreams due to his authoritarian father Gurtej Kahlon (Rishi Kapoor), 17 years ago. Despite being an excellent fast bowler, he wasn't allowed to play for Firangis (England) as their family was subjected to racist attacks many years back. Gurutej turned very aggressive post the incident and used to raise his hand or voice at the drop of a hat.
Gattu, on the other hand, has been living a mediocre life, working in a Southhall corner store for years now. The younger generation of his family blames him for setting the wrong example.
Still not over with his love for the game, Gattu discreetly practices bowling when no one is around. His neighbour friend Simran (Anushka Sharma) and her kid brother (Z) are determined to get Gattu's life back on track. Will he get his life back is what forms the rest of the story.
Nikhil Advani keeps the narrative to the point, avoiding all the redundancies in the first half. The characters and their conflicts are well established. It's a tough situation if you are in the shoes of Gattu and have to choose between your dreams and family. You really do feel for Gattu and his predicament. Simran and Zee making a spineless Gattu realise the importance of chasing dreams is inspiring. Their characters act as catalysts in moving the story ahead.
Post the interval, the Nikhil goes a bit wayward in his direction. The entire plan and more so its execution is just too convenient. The cricket scenes, though not bad, don't arouse the excitement that LAGAAN immaculately did.
The plot is no doubt predictable. You roughly know what will happen in the end. But how Nikhil reaches there is plausible. There's an endearing scene just before the interval where Priti Kahlon (Jeneva Talwar) tells Gattu that the Britishers treat Indians as equals and have hence offered him a place in their team. The lighter moments manage to bring a smile.
Manan Sagar's editing is good but the second half could have been much tighter. Cinematography by Santosh Thundiyil is nice. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy's music goes well with the film.
Akshay Kumar, teaming up with Nikhil after CHANDNI CHOWK TO CHINA, is first-rate as he delivers a very restrained performance. He looks convincing as a cricketer and never goes overboard. Rishi Kapoor plays his role to perfection. Anushka Sharma is refreshingly good and is at her chirpiest best. The boy who plays Z is completely natural. Dimple Kapadia doesn't have much scope. Tinu Anand is good. Thankfully, the cricketers (Andrew Symonds, Herschelle Gibbs, Kieron Pollard) are just seen playing cricket and don't mouth dialogues. All the other characters are fine in their small roles.
PATIALA HOUSE is a heart-warming drama. Do pay a visit to this house with your family. A fun time is guaranteed.