2 States

So your parents don’t approve of your girl friend, and her parents don’t approve of you. What do you do? Option A) Call off your relationship and move on with your lives B) Run away and elope, or C) Try to convince the parents to welcome and embrace your loved one.

Back in the late sixties, the film Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, was about an interracial couple who have just become engaged, and seek parental approval before marriage. While far from a perfect film – the super star cast – Spencer Tracy, Katherine Hepburn, and Sidney Poitier, with Katherine Houghton as the prospective bride, sold a lot of tickets, and the film was very entertaining and well received. Ten Nominations and two Oscar wins do make it well received, right?

While that film might be called the Grandfather of all star-crossed lovers movies, we can go back to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet as a far older example. In fact, as long as there have lovers, going back to antiquity, there have disapproving parents.

They’re still making these kinds of films. 2 States is a story of two young people who meet in grad school, fall in love, and want the approval of their parents before they marry. They are not an interracial couple, in fact they’re not even from different religions. They are simply from two different regions of India.

The film takes on a number of issues. Cross-regional marriages, dowries, skin-color, alcoholism, as well as prejudice. Directed by Abhishek Varman, and based on the best-selling 2009 novel of the same title written by Chetan Bhagat, this film fits splendidly into the romantic/comedy/drama genre. Starring the sparkling and beautiful Alia Bhatt, in only her 3rd film as Ananya, and Arjun Kapoor as Krish – this is just his 4th film – the film has lively and wonderful music, top-notch performances by the six principal characters, and absolutely beautiful and stunning cinematography.

Have a look at one of my favorites songs from the film – Chaandaniya.

In short this is a feast for the eyes, the ears, and the heart. With its premiere just a few weeks ago on April 18th, this film has charmed viewers in India as well as plenty of folks here in the USA.

So when Ananya and Krish meet – things are predictable. Though he tries to resist, he’s attracted, and she’s lukewarm, but this is a romantic film, so things ultimately go as expected. But even after, we see that all is not perfect. Ananya is a bit manipulative, while Krish is somewhat of a male chauvinist. In short despite their good looks, the characters show enough flaws for you to begin to side with parents. Of course it is also true that the parents employ stereotypical labels to our lovebirds.  But while sometimes the parents behavior is shocking – there are no bad guys here. Overprotective, yes? Prejudicial, of course. However, things like this can and hopefully will be overcome.

She’s the daughter of a Tamil family, and she’s from Chennai, a major city, once known as Madras, in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. He’s from North India – Delhi, and is the son of a Punjabi family. To give you an idea, Krish’s Mom labeled Ananya’s parents as Madrasi, which is an ethnic slur while they were standing four feet in front of her. Ananya’s Mom immediately resentful, called Krish’s Mom an uncultured Punjabi. From there it only got worse.

The young couple tried and tried to win over the parents, and more than a few times, they contemplated an elopement. Meanwhile the couple had to proceed with their post grad school careers, of course they got great jobs – he’s a banker = she’s a marketing manager. They are successful in their jobs, but in all honesty, in fact, Krish wants to be a writer, so quite likely this is the story of the novelist as well. Their jobs aren’t part of the equation which makes the film work, they’re merely a sidebar.

Here’s a second song Mast Magan.

I’d say the real factors of making this film so much fun, and so entertaining, are the positive energy, the lightness, as well as the rich visuals. The enthusiastic and foot-tapping music help out by really growing on you. Even if you haven’t much experience with Indian films, I’m positive that you will enjoy this one.

I’m coming in with a strong recommendation and a favorable and positive rating. Four point zero out of five. If you want to see a light-hearted and entertaining film – you won’t go wrong with this one.


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