Reviewing the Reviews: Mausam

26 Sep,2011

By Deepa Gahlot

Mausam

Key cast: Shahid Kapoor, Sonam Kapoor

Written and directed by: Pankaj Kapur

Produced by: Sunil Lulla and Sheetal Vinod Talwar

 

Pankaj Kapur’s debut film as director seems to have done the near-impossible—united critics across the board, with harsh-to-gentle panning and ratings from one and a half to two stars. All except the Times of India, of course, that rarely drops below three, and NDTV. Everyone agreed that the film fell fall short of its epic pretensions, and went on and on till the audiences were bored to tears.

 

The film, with the pompous tagline: A Love Story Beyond Romance (means what?), has its Punjabi hero and Kashmiri heroine meet and separate over several countries and calamities, till the pathos is wrung inside out to become farcical. All that fuss about the Air Force was needless, the bloke need not even need to be a pilot. Shahid gets to wear a uniform, a moustache, a still expression and pretend for a few minutes that he is Tom Cruise in Top Gun. Sonam Kapoor looks pretty, giggles, screams, weeps and dances in Scotland!

 

Sudhish Kamath of The Hindu titled it “Epic Disaster”. “Think of all the possible clichés that have kept star-crossed lovers away in Hindi cinema over the years and put them all in one movie — jilted lover, jealous rival, death of father, change of address, call of duty, misunderstandings, unread letters and those riots every few years,” he writes.

 

Mayank Shekhar of Hindustan Times gives it one and a half stars and writes, “There’s an old, popular Shailendra ditty in this movie that goes, of course, Ajeeb Dastan Hai Yeh, Kahaan Shuru, Kahan Khatam (It’s a weird legend. Not sure where it begins. Not sure where it ends). The second time they play that Shankar Jaikishen song on this screen, you’re convinced this is some kind of an inside joke between the film’s director and his drooping audience. He’s ushered you into the theatre all right, seated you comfortably with popcorn, Coke and other supplies for the day, it’s been over three hours (has felt like multiple mausams, seasons, of a television series), you’re still not certain when this epic tragedy will end, or if it will at all.”

 

According to India Today’s Kaveree Bamzai, “Every scene is beautifully shot, the romance is meant to grow on you with its artful glances and coy exchanges. But instead of a slow burn, it’s just plain exhaustion.”

 

Raja Sen on rediff.com echoed the sentiments of many, “This is a love story gone awry purely because of under-communication, and while that seems fine enough on paper, it’s rather hard to swallow two lovers cleaved for well over a decade simply because they don’t have each other’s forwarding address.”

 

IBN Live’s Rajeev Masand calls it an unfortunate mess and says, “Plodding along for close to three hours, Mausam loses steam early on. By the time the film hobbles to its end at a riot-stricken Ahmedabad fair, all you can do is gasp. Gasp in complete shock at the inconceivably embarrassing climax that involves a Ferris wheel, a crying child, and a horse. This one scene alone hints at just how desperately this script was begging for a rewrite!”

 

 

Aniruddha Guha of DNA quips that the only thing epic about Mausam is its length. “Two lovers separated by circumstances repeatedly would be acceptable if the situations were at least believable. But the story demands you to suspend belief repeatedly, and gets convoluted beyond repair eventually.”

 

The Reuter’s Review headline says “Mausam is several seasons too long,” and then, “If director Pankaj Kapur hadn’t gone to pains to establish that Mausam plays out between the mid-’90s and the early years of this century, you’d be forgiven for thinking this film takes place in the ’20s — when there was no internet, no phones and no technology. Why else would two, reasonably well-off, intelligent people who obviously have access to technology be unable to trace each other? It makes no sense, and instead of feeling sad for them, you feel frustrated.

 

The usually kind Taran Adarsh of bollywoodhungama.com surprisingly dubs it a “colossal disappointment,” and comments, “The screenplay, to put it bluntly, is unengaging and what makes it worse is the fact that it seems like a never-ending saga. The film just goes on and on and on, moving from one city/country to another, till the viewer gets jetlagged and exhausted by watching this saga unfold on screen. With a running time of close to 3 hours, Mausam has a few sequences that do stand out, but the weak script blows the efforts away.”

 

And the usually sensible Shubhra Gupta of The Indian Express gives it an uncharacteristic two and a half stars, saying, however, that “Mausam starts like a dewy-fresh spring morning, where everything is familiar yet new. It then wilts, autumnal overtones taking over. And then never quite recovers, falling into a dreary never-ending winter.

 

One of the few who recommends the film is NDTV.com’s Saibal Chatterjee. “To conclude, Mausam could quite easily have ended up being a stodgy, strenuous and self-conscious drama. Writer-director Kapur, the accomplished actor that he is, orchestrates the emotional ups and downs of his tale with a commendable degree of moderation for the most part. Mausam is certainly worth a viewing.”

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