The 2022 Bollywood movie ‘Gehraiyaan’ directed by Shakun Batra promised to be a deep-dive into the intricacies of modern relationships. The makers almost deliver, except, the story is really about a woman dealing with the trappings of a dysfunctional family. And some of us can probably smell one of the the big climactic plot-twists in the very first hour of the 2 hr 28 minute runtime.
Deepika Padukone plays lead Alisha, a yoga instructor trying to launch her own fitness app, while simultaneously supporting her writer boyfriend and taking care of all the bills. She suffers from anxiety, has financial stress, an estranged father, a dead mom… so my question is – why the fuck is she not seeing a therapist & simply popping Valium pills instead? Anyway, Alisha’s boyfriend Karan (Dhairya Karwa) is best-friend’s with her first cousin Tia (Ananya Pandey), so they go on a two day vacation with Tia and her fiance. And that’s where Alisha and Zain (Siddhant Chaturvedi) find themselves attracted to each other. But what was supposed to be brief fling turns into a complicated prolonged affair, leading to tragic consequences.
One of the biggest strengths of this movie is the fluid dialogue writing. Even though viewers may not be able relate to the characters, their conversations, awkward first interactions or even heated exchanges – all sound believable. As far as the theme of infidelity is concerned, Shakun Batra doesn’t bring anything new to the table really – except for the lingo and settings. But instead, the film also dwells into how life can become a complex circle of pain for some, especially if one is unable to let go of their past. In Gehraiyaan, Alisha’s biggest fear seems to be meeting her mother’s fate – being trapped in a loveless relationship (again, why is she not seeing a therapist? and why does she not have any friends?).
Some of Alisha’s decisions as a young independent woman are questionable, and I am not talking about the infidelity. That said, Deepika Padukona perhaps delivers her career best in the film, she follows her brief and poignantly portrays an emotionally torn woman. Siddhant Chaturvedi is quite the charmer as Zain, a young real-estate entrepreneur who is ambitious, passionate and manipulative. The chemistry between the two was easy on the eyes and their intimate scenes are breezy, filled with the excitement of young love. Ananya Pandey as Tia is perfect for the role, she looks & plays the part of a rich-sweet-gullible young woman with little effort. You almost feel bad for her character in the movie. Dhairya Karwa who plays Karan is quite forgettable as Alisha’s writer boyfriend. Nasseruddin Shah in a very brief cameo as Alisha’s father is a scene-stealer, but has the right amount of screen-time necessary for his character.
The pace slows down in the second-half, and things get a little more chaotic than necessary, with multiple twists, one of which was absolutely unnecessary. However, there was one twist towards the end that does shake things up a little. But everything is wrapped up a little too conveniently by the end. Some viewers may find their interest dipping after an hour, a shorter runtime would’ve made this flick a lot more engrossing. Also, the makers keep showing sea-waves as transitions through the story, which just got funny after a point – too blatant an attempt at throwing the “gehraiyaan (deep)” metaphor on our faces.
Watch the film on Amazon Prime if you liked the trailer. It’s a 7/10 from me.
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