Film Review: ‘Gori tere pyaar mein’

Film Review: 'Gori tere pyaar mein'

A shallow big-city jerk is redeemed by simple village life and the heart of a good woman in a lackluster Bollywood romantic comedy

“Gori tere pyaar mein” (“Beauty in Your Love”) is a moderately well-executed romantic slapstick comedy, supposedly based on the actual experiences of its co-writer and director, Punit Malhotra (“I Hate Luv Stories”). If that’s the case, Malhotra deserves some credit for enthusiastically portraying himself as a self-serving shallow jerk, at least at the outset of the story; by the fadeout, a good woman has transformed him into a better man. In India, the pic opened to mixed reviews and underwhelming box office on its first day of release.

Malhotra’s alter ego, Sriram Venkat (Imran Khan), is a rich Tamil kid from Bangalore, still carrying a torch for a lost love, a dedicated “NGO type,” Dia Sharma (Kareena Kapoor Khan). Their quarrelsome relationship finally ended because, as he saw it, she never came down off her high horse. Now she has taken up residence as a do-gooder in the picturesque thatched village of Jumli in rural Gujurat. After a certain amount of dithering and philandering, and menaced by a marriage arranged by his parents, Sriram takes off after her.

The power of the pure and simple Indian-ness of village life to redeem callow young Hindi movie heroes is hardly a fresh idea. “Gori tere pyaar mein,” in fact, bears a more than passing resemblance to Ashutosh Gowarikar’s superior “Swades” (2004), in which expat engineer Shah Rukh Khan brought hydroelectric power to a dusty hamlet. In this case, Sriram is an architect who designs a bridge and persuades a self-serving local landowner (a cartoonishly villainous Anupam Kher) to pay for it. The sturdy wood-and-concrete structure replaces a wobbling rope bridge over a small river, easing the village’s traffic with the outside world. The local children, for example, will now be able to travel to attend school.

This may sound like a winning combination — a love story plus uplift plus song and dance numbers — but the falseness of the exaggerated romantic comedy sequences here infect the aspects of the story that should be underplayed and gentle, as they were in “Swades.”

Imran Khan manages to be likable even when playing a jerk, but neither he nor his leading lady, Kapoor Khan (the double moniker is a nod to her new husband, actor Saif Ali Khan), is among Bollywood’s most accomplished terpsichoreans. Director Malhotra resorts to fast cutting and jittery quick zooms to disguise the mediocrity of the musical numbers, deplorable Hollywood tricks that the old masters of Bollywood rarely had to fall back on.

Film Review: 'Gori tere pyaar mein'

Reviewed at Laemmle Town Center 5, Encino, Nov. 22, 2013. Running-time: 150 MIN.

Production

(India) A Reliance Entertainment/Dharma Productions Presentation. Produced by Karan Johar, Marijke Desouza, Apoorva Mehta. Executive producer, Hiroo Johar.

Crew

Directed by Punit Malhotra. Screenplay, Malhotra, Arshad Sayed. Camera (color), Mahesh Limaye;  editor, Akiv Ali; music, Vishal-Shekhar; lyrics, Salim-Sulaiman; choreographer, Remo D'Souza; production designer, Shashank Tere; costume designers, Manish Malhotra, Megha Tandon; sound, Ali Merchant; casting, Jogi.

With

Imran Khan, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Anupam Kher, Shraddha Kapoor. (Hindi, Tamil, Gujarati dialogue).

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  1. MAK says:

    I don’t understand how an architect can “design” a wood-concrete bridge without a proper structural engineering background (preferably with knowledge of design for moving loads). This shows that no such research has been done in order to strengthen the story line. If at all, the protagonist could have been a laid-back jerk of a civil engineer who later comes of age and designs a bridge for school children. Why did he have to be an architect? what architectural aspect is required to design such a bridge?

  2. Carl Johnson says:

    I actually enjoyed the movie. Formulaic rom-com with the base story already explained in the promos… I walked into the theatre with my expectations in line. It delivered exactly that. I felt good after watching it. I’m not the kind a guy who usually enjoys the genre. I usually start to cringe at certain time-tested, well-exploited, hammy lubby-dubby scenes which are usually thrown around casually in the plot-line in most Indian rom-coms. Not that the movie was devoid of such sequences but it didn’t bore because the chemistry b/w the lead pair was quite good. They sorta share a sense of casualness which I couldn’t see among most screen pairings.The humor element wasn’t lost either. Witty wise-cracks and comebacks were key in keeping the movie paced well enough to not make me want to look at my cell-phone for the time. Slap-stick was at a minimum (or maybe my standards have been re-defined & my cognitive ability compromised after I watched Grand Masti – a true representation of post-modern, new millennia film-making). Jokes aside, the movie is a pretty good one-time watch. 3.5/5.0

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