Sunday, February 13, 2011


Release date: February 11, 2011
Director: Nikhil Advani
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Rishi Kapoor, Anushka Sharma, Hard Kaur, Dimple Kapadia, with guest appearances by a bunch of real-life cricketers including Nasser Hussain, Andrew Symonds, Sanjay Manjrekar and Nikhil Chopra
I’ve never felt that I was two people watching one movie, the way I did with Patiala House. The first me found the film entertaining at a certain level, thought Akshay Kumar was charming, was reminded once again that Anushka Sharma is luminously lovely and lively, and realised that this is the best Akshay movie I’ve seen in ages. But then there was that other me who found the basic premise of Patiala House soooo unconvincing that try as I did, I couldn’t lose myself in the film.
Patiala House is the story of Pargat Singh Kahlon a.k.a. Gattu (Akshay) whose potentially brilliant cricketing career is thwarted by his despotic father Gurtej Singh Kahlon a.k.a. Bauji. You see, Bauji is a London-based Sikh who has been at the receiving end of gora racism. So he’s aghast at the thought of his son playing in the English cricket team. What’s the boy to do considering that he’s a British citizen? Ah well, like many such kids we know who are far more traditionally Indian than Indian kids back home, Gattu gives in to Bauji, gives up his dreams and starts running a convenience store. That’s also the end of the road for all the other youngsters in the family who must turn their backs on their youthful ambitions as Gattu’s example is rubbed in their faces. Seventeen years later, Simran enters Gattu’s life. He falls in love, gets a second shot at his dream, and that’s how Patiala House goes.
Who are they kidding? I mean, if Bauji hates England so much and is the decent guy the film suggests he is, why on earth did he not move back to India instead of contributing to the gora economy? And since he’s such a fanatical cricket maniac himself, how can I as a viewer not wonder why he didn’t for even a second consider sending Gattu back to India as a child to bring glory to the game and the motherland? I mean, Gattu’s such a genius that Nasser Hussain (yes, the English cricket cap’n in an interesting cameo) actually still remembers being bowled out by him in three successive innings all those years back! Bollywood films often demand a suspension of disbelief from the audience, but Patiala House demands a bit too much of it.
Then there’s the manner in which Gattu returns to cricket the second time round while the world T20 Championships are on … The whole family gangs up against Bauji to keep the secret from him, the cable connection at home is cut each time an England match is on, the entire neighbourhood is persuaded to lie to Bauji, the community centre cable connection is cut, newspaper stories on Gattu are replaced, congratulatory phone calls are intercepted in the nick of time, the family doctor raises a false alarm and forces Bauji to stay at home … all this while Gattu single-handedly takes the English team all the way to the finals! Seriously?!
There’s also the minor matter of age. Akshay is fabulously fit at 43 but c’mon, Gattu is supposed to be 34! His age is crucial to the story and is repeatedly dinned into our ears. It doesn’t help that the film pits Akshay against Anushka who is a glowing 20-something with a lustrous complexion. Big mistake!
So that’s what the first me says to you about Patiala House. But the other me would like to point out that this film is a pleasant break from the repetitive comedies that Akshay has starred in for the past couple of years. Playing what one character in the film describes as “a shadow of a man”, he gives us a restrained performance that tugs at the heart. He also looks like he’s really bowling on that cricket field. Anushka is well cast as the voluble Simran. She is fast becoming Hindi filmdom’s favourite bubbly young Punjaban which could be a double-edged sword though: there’s the danger of being typecast (she’s already done this in Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi and Band Baaja Baaraat, remember?) but on the other hand, she’s just so darned good at it!
The Gattu-Simran romance is the sweetest thing about Patiala House. It’s underplayed and the stars shine as actors in scenes where sparks fly between them.
It’s also wonderful to see Rishi Kapoor rock his own second innings in Bollywood. He is perfect as Bauji. Wish his character’s motivations had been better scripted though.
A word here for director Nikhil Advani since Patiala House is head and shoulders, eyebrows and hairline above his previous film with Akshay, Chandni Chowk to China. Switching to sepia tones and getting other actors to play the teenaged Gattu and a younger Bauji, but using Akshay and Rishi’s voices for them is a nice touch. The guest appearances by professional cricketers are very well executed. The leads are supported by a bunch of able actors among whom the little boy playing Simran’s foster brother/son stands out. And Hard Kaur is a great choice to play the propah salwar-suit-&-sweater-clad singer of religious songs whose true goal is to be a rapper.
All in all though, perhaps Patiala House’s big disadvantage is that we’ve all seen much much better sports films. Unlike in Patiala House, in Gurinder Chadha’s Bend It Like Beckham the England-based Indian father’s opposition to his daughter’s sporting ambitions made perfectly logical sense and his change of heart was not predictable. Unlike in Patiala House, in Lagaan the cricket match was so brilliantly done that though we knew how it would end, we still cheered as though we were watching a real live match. And unlike in Patiala House, in Nagesh Kukunoor’s amazing Iqbal, every inch of the story was so believable that we forgot we were watching a film.
In Patiala House, I was conscious that I was watching a movie every single step of the way. Its nice I guess, but that’s about it.
Rating (out of five): **3/4


  1. While watching the movie.. couldn't help but thinking that it should have been a daily tele-soap rather than a movie.

  2. It sounds way better than TMK. Hmm think might watch it. Thanks Anna. You give it as you see it.

  3. Anna your review was bang on! Def. enjoyed it more than his other recent duds..

  4. In the beginning I found the movie a bit dull with a touch of sense of humor. As it Progressed I found myself drawn to the movie more and more not just do too Aksay's well done performance but more the script. As the story line continued I saw some how some of the material was similar to what I had gone through specifically with my mom being like Aksay's characters dad except for of course the cricket part and that his dad enjoyed cricket .The storyline had a deeper meaning to it than what most saw and it amazed me how most people could relate specifically those who by one of their parent's weren't allowed to follow there dreams/ career choices due to the fact that the parent didn't want to consider their child's happiness and that there heart had such love for that dream/ career that it really effected there personality to a point that they changed to a living breathing robot instead of living. Now just like the characters father had unconsciously to a certain degree deprived there child of there dream by manipulation and their point of view which overclouded there child's desire to fulfill there dream and turned it into pleasing their parents. I fond my eye's glued to the screen and my heart drawn to the script which seemed light hearted and dull when it began and turned into a lesson which stated always follow the dream/ career you know you were born to do and is a part of your personality just like air is to your lungs. Now on the actually cricket game normally I could tell which way a sport game will go considering I've seen many of those types of movies but what really peaked my attention was the fact that it was a go and touch type of game that actually did keep you on your tows. I liked the fact that it was like yoyo it went up and down and not in a straight line or order which made it more interesting to watch. Now on the music to be honest there was only one good song and rest were very out of place almost which generally bollywood does a good job mixing it into the movie. For example the club down stairs the wedding upstairs and akshay running back and forth. Normally I a huge fan of the songs part but in this movie I'd give the script a 9.5 and acting a 9 and the songs a 4. Only one good song in the whole movie that actually worked with the movie.I think the chemistry part between anushka and Akshay good have used some work with perhaps a few script tweaks so the audience could feel the chemistry more but besides that I have no complaints and give this move a 9.5 out of 10 due to the poor songs and the not very strong chemistry between the co-stars.

  5. Gosh Anna is a great friend and a professional I all the more for her to TOLERATE so many devastatingly bad movies......................Salute thee Anna