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Gehraiyaan movie is promoted as a Romance genre, but it is still better if it were promoted as a Romance Thriller or a Psychological Thriller. Also, it was promoted as if Deepika Padukone was the main character, as if it was a Women Fiction.
The four characters are (A) Alisha (Deepika Padukone), (B) Tia (Ananya Panday), (C) Zain (Siddhant Chaturvedi) and (D)Karan (Dhairya Karwa).
The story is driven by insecurity, deceit, greed, and ambition. The characters Alisha and Karan are in a live-in relation, and Alisha is frustrated because her live-in partner is not successful and she has to take the burden of their expenses. Besides she is ambitious who besides being a Yoga teacher is developing an App for which she requires funding of a big amount that is beyond their means.
Alisha and Tia are cousins. While, the family of Alisha has lost out on being rich, because Alisha’s father decided to just drop off everything and move to a mofussil town to do farming, Tia’s family continued to prosper in the business and are now in USA with tonnes of money from real estate.
Zain is friend and fiance of Tia. Tia decides to visit Alisha after many years, spend time together, because they are cousins, and reminiscence their childhood memories, but also because Zain is having a huge ongoing business project in which Tia’s father has invested. Given the background of Tia and Zain, they are dirt rich (though Zain claims to be self-made person).
In that get together, Zain gets attracted to Alisha. This is the inciting incident and happens so quickly and in a totally unbelievable manner that it introduces a superficiality in the story.
Perhaps the story writers wanted to portray that Alisha has her broken past with internal conflicts and also ambitious, wants funding for her app, while Zain by now being infatuated is overly willing to giving the funding as a manner of showing himself to be legitimate. However the way of execution of the inciting incident feels superficial and fake.
The waves of ocean showing the interiorization of emotional conflict of being in an illicit secret affair is too real and disturbing. Perhaps, the cinematography of the ocean waves at the most critical points is the best way by which the movie portrayed the internal conflict.
As it happens, despite everything being visibly excellent in life for the super rich, Zain is not clean, and trying to con the bank by fabricating accounts and balance sheet for getting more money on loans, and overstretching himself with greed and ambition.
And when a bank official is caught by law enforcers, things start to fall apart.
Plotting is excellent, but the story by itself felt superficial. Why? Because, Alisha and Zain were total strangers who become intimate, whereas, Tia and Karan who are childhood friends and also together in college – their relation is totally platonic! It is really difficult to understand, how can a character go into such a deep relation of intimacy with a stranger who is also a fiance of her cousin in such a sudden manner. Given the kind of past Alisha has, infatuation is more a weak plot device and has no believability.
The anxiety of being successful and the measure of success being earning money real fast and quick by using any method, whether it be morally questionable method or openly unlawful methods reflects a pathetic situation of our contemporary times. While the plotting as such is excellent, it also had a limitation that instead of gradual revelations, they come as a barrage of sudden revelations at the second half near the end.
The aspect of ambition and greed tends to take away the depth that would have made this a much better movie with the central characterization of a woman with a broken and conflicted past. Instead of that, the movie turns to a superficial thriller with more focus on too many unnecessary scenes with brawn. The relation between Alisha and Zain is from beginning one of infatuation and bound to fail.
Even though the character of Deepika was promoted as the main character as if this is a women fiction, in the movie, the character Alisha can be seen in two ways – one is that she is driven by her own ambition and greed, alternately, she can be seen as hardly having any agency as she is being driven by the needs and desires of others, and is a dependent appendage of Zain.
Also, the way the character of Alisha is portrayed, and the way the character acts as a weak person is totally opposite to if one wants to see her as an ambitious and greedy woman. She is always being influenced by others. The agency needed for this character is simply absent. All these adds to the unbelievability index of the movie. This makes the movie as typical Bollywood suspense thriller which tries to do things, and could be great, but for the Characters.
Maybe, the hollowness in her life coupled with ambition and greed makes Alisha play along. Presence of a rich guy beside her seems to give her security. A woman in need of money is ready to play along with a man who is too rich. Maybe Alisha is really a weak woman, trying to find comfort and security in someone who is rich. In a way as the story gradually unfolds the requirement of funding for her app seems secondary as she becomes pregnant.
The story is full of hot mess with secret relations among family members while the movie itself focuses most of the time on the relation between Alisha and Zain. In the end this movie, despite its hype in the pandemic ridden times, is neither memorable nor entertaining. I won’t say it is bad movie, but the story didn’t have the elements that could lead to dramatic excellence by the actors, nor it had elements that keeps a story memorable. I would rather say a Shahrukh Khan and Deepika starrer absurd movie like Chennai Express was far more interesting and entertaining than this one.
Some stories do well in written form, some in screen form. Maybe if this story was a book, this would be much more interesting to read, than it is to view as a movie.
One word regarding Amazon Prime Original movies should also be said. They are trying to do great by making movies of Indian stories – however, the quality of such movies and the quality of stories still leaves one wanting. Much is desired to push up the OTT movies and series to put them at par with the quality of international level.
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