'Phillauri': Movie Review

By Murtaza Ali Khan

Featured in IMDb Critic Reviews

Phillauri, Anushka Sharma, Diljit Dosanjh

Phillauri, produced under the banner of Fox Star Studios and Clean Slate Films, stars Anushka Sharma, Diljit Dosanjh and Suraj Sharma in the lead roles. The film happens to be the directorial debut of Anshai Lal who has previously served as Assistant Director on big projects like Chak de! India (2007) and Housefull (2010).

Ever since the trailer of Phillauri came out anticipation surrounding the release of the film has been quite strong. Alas, Phillauri fails to live up to its pre-release hype!

In this article, we will look at the various flaws and weaknesses that hamper Phillauri.

Phillauri marks the directorial debut of Anshai Lal. But, Anshal is not a novice by any means having assisted on various projects including the ones mentioned earlier. In Phillauri he never really seems to be in control of things. While the film does have some memorable moments but they have to be attributed to the writer and the actors. At the end of the day, it is the director who is supposed to have the ultimate control of the film. In Phillauri either Lal didn’t have that luxury or perhaps he failed to exercise his creative control.

With a run time of 140 minutes, Phillauri is asking for trouble. Poor pacing at crucial junctures makes the things worse for Phillauri. Today’s audience tends to get impatient very quickly when they see a film that’s poorly paced and that’s precisely where Phillauri lacks. Of course, the screenplay, direction and editing are to be blamed for it.

Phillauri, Diljit Dosanjh

We just talked about poor pacing. The right tempo can be set not just through brilliant screenwriting but also on the editing table.  But it appears that the editor was half asleep. Or maybe it’s a result of self-indulgence on the part of the director. Phillauri could have benefited greatly had about 20 minutes of footage been done away with. Also, the packaging of scenes could have been better. But, in its present shape it lacks the charm to keep the viewers engaged till the very end.  

Nothing really happens for a very periods in the movie. Yes, the screenplay does try to keep things engaging, but the viewer is left high and dry in desperate wait for the final revelation. There is no denying that the plot has a lot of interesting elements but perhaps they are not tied properly. In modern narratives the aim is to keep the audience hooked throughout and that’s precisely where Phillauri falters.    

Phillauri, Suraj Sharma

While the acting performances of Anushka Sharma and Diljit Dosanj are superb it is Suraj Sharma who fails to impress. One certainly expects better from an actor who has been associated with a major international project like Life of Pi. In Phillauri, he looks a bit stiff and for some reason fails to express himself freely. Again a part of the problem lies with the director’s inability to bring his actor to the director comfort level.   
Phillauri’s plot is replete with clichés. There is little that we haven’t already watched. Yes, it is essentially a ghost story but even that bit is not original. Mani Kaul’s Duvidha and its star-studded remake, Amol Palekar’s Paheli, have tackled the subject with far greater flair and conviction. While it would be a bit harsh to question its intentions, one can’t help but criticize the blatant manner in which Phillauri chooses to ride on clichés.    

Phillauri, Anushka Sharma

One a whole Phillauri comes across as a film that wanders aimlessly for the most part. At important points in the narrative it seems to be lacking any concrete purpose. The revelation at the end salvages it to a great extent but it fails to give it the punch that a movie like this badly requires.  Phillauri is certainly not a bad movie but it is certainly suffers from poor execution.

Rating: 5/10

A version of this review was first published in Wittyfeed.

Readers, please feel free to share your opinion by leaving your comments. As always your valuable thoughts are highly appreciated!  

Phillauri Trailer (YouTube)

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  1. I will agree with most of the points mentioned here.. though i do think that the story was good, just that the execution of it all ruined it.. especially the ghosts part towards the end..(Spoiler's ahead) I particularly liked the theme that the girl wrote anonymously and sought freedom through words. I enjoyed the collaboration between the Philauris to give a tune to the heartfelt lyrics and make a song to reach the masses.. And the song- that Sufi song- Saheba- was really good. The modern day leads were great in their part too- fast paced lives, confusion about life's big decision embodied today's youth... Then again it all could have been so so better... a bit disappointed...

  2. They have used dubbing at some places for Diljit's Voice ,which is where i feel is the disconnect and kills the interest in the Plot.He should have Sung the songs which eventually would have come out more beautifully and would have had better connect with the audience..

  3. I saw this film few days before, Movie is amazing and ghost is very cute and thanks for the information


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