Creativity sometimes borders on insanity. In the sense, that when an artist ventures to paint his canvass he has to know when to stop. That's what you call brilliance in a genius. If an artist continues to go beyond that moment when he has failed to establish that his art is complete and he has done enough, is when he moves into self-indulgent zone. A dangerous place to be in. A creative person has to stop, step back, disconnect himself from his work and look at it dispassionately. It's one thing to fall in love with your work; another to keep caressing it over and over again.
This is exactly what first-time director and award winning actor Pankaj Kapoor has done. He has committed the cardinal sin of not knowing when to stop. Also, I feel, he has tried to mix in too many turbulent elements of the past, intersperse them and in the process has ended up burning his fingers. Kapoor has linked events of Operation Blue Star, trouble in the Kashmir Valley, Ayodhya and the bringing down of the Babri Masjid, Bombay Bomb Blasts, Twin Tower strike in New York and Godhra in Ahmedabad. Through these events he links a love story that stands the test of time.
Both central characters Sq. Leader Harrinder Singh, aka Harry (Shahid Kapoor) and Aayat (Sonam Kapoor) have scarred pasts. While Harry's past is linked to Blue Star, Aayat has nightmares of Kashmir. Both meet in Mullakot, a sleepy village in Punjab where Harry is the most popular boy. He has a silent admirer in Rajjo, his padosan played by Aditi Sharma. That girl is fida over Harry, but Harry will only settle for a special someone. When Aayat comes to stay in his village, his heart goes dhak dhak. .
Overnight, Aayat has to move home and Harry is devastated. They meet again seven years later in Scotland. Harry is on training, on an exchange programme through the Indian Air Force. They still love each other and it blossoms from here on. There are obstacles galore thrown in their path and the lovers are separated again. Will they ever meet?
Director Kapoor begins brilliantly. He captures the characters within the first reel that will establish and unravel the plot later on. The village scenes in Punjab are earthy. The styling and screenplay is perfect. So are the mood, lighting, camera angles and background score.
The whole feel of the canvass is exciting. But when the plot goes into a subplot is when you begin to dread the obvious. The movie drags and this is sad because it had the potential to be a blockbuster.
Shahid Kapoor being directed by his father is having the time of his life. As the young, care-free Harry who also basks in Rajjo's obvious interest in him, he is brilliant. The scenes where he tries to woo Aayat too stand out. As an officer in the Indian Air Force he plays his part well. As one who has lost his love he is forceful.
Sonam unfortunately is getting stuck in a rut. She needs a role that will break the shackles of 'the shy girl falling in love' over and over again. She has talent but this role does no justice to her. In fact, it is Aditi Sharma (Rajjo), who your heart reaches out to as the girl still in love with Harry even after being married. She transfers her emotions onto the viewer beautifully.
Like an overcooked dish, MAUSAM, towards the end leaves a soggy taste in your mouth. Sad. Because as a director, Pankaj Kapoor has shown his class. It's just that he was playing with too many ideas in one go. Give him time and he will be one of our best.