Patiala House (PH) is a very important film for AK. With the last two years being pretty bad for him, and audience faith at an all time low, AK desperately needed PH to lift his career. PH is like Akshay Kumar’s Chak De India. Akshay is at that stage of his career where SRK was before the release of CDI. And I am happy to say, Patiala Houe redeems AK’s reputation to a large extent.
While PH is not a classic by any means, it is AK’s best drama/emotional film in a long time. In terms of story, PH is just another underdog/repressed protagonist story, with some comic elements thrown in between. But it is AK’s performance, which lifts the film to a completely different level, and makes it a worthy attempt. AK is the heart and soul of the film, and he gives a memorable performance.
The film starts with Rishi’s background story, and establishes his character. This is very important as it makes the central father-son conflict very beleivable. A father, who has not been able to forget and forgive, and a son, who cannot disobey his father out of love and respect. It is very identifiable, many of us have done that in our life. Although Rishi is the one who’s wrong, you do not hate him for ruining 17 years of AK’s life by not allowing him to play, instead you empathize with AK and respect his decision of understanding his father. Things change when Anushka enters the frame. She shows AK the flip side of his decision – the successive sacrifices his cousins have done after he set an example. The cousins hate AK, and he knows that, but without Anushka’s love, he does not have the strength to revolt against Rishi. Anushka instills in him a sense of pride, self-respect, and inspires him to follow his dreams, so that at least his cousins can then follow their dreams. This has also been treated in the film sensitively and believably. Although you forget individuals amongst AK’s cousins, they do strike a chord with their performances. Ultimately, when everyone supports AK, and then Dimple (AK’s mother) also goes against Rishi, Rishi realizes he’s stuck in the bygone era. The climax brings tears in your eyes.
The film succeeds in connecting with your heart, and that’s because you can identify with AK’s predicament. Anushka’s character brings energy into the proceedings, and she performs well. She tends to go overboard in 1-2 scenes, but overall compliments AK well. Rishi & Dimple also perform well, and you feel pity for both of them. SEL’s music is a big asset and does wonders for the movie. The background score heightens the impact of the scenes considerably. Songs are also woven well and do not hinder the flow.
Emotion is the core element of the film, and Nikhil succeeds there. His story/screenplay lacks finesse, but the emotional quotient of the film and the understated tone for most parts makes up for it. Another feather in his cap is that the film is beleivable in most parts. Of course there are some cinematic liberties, but they don’t spoil the central story. The entire part of hiding AK’s cricket matches from Rishi is unbelievable, but it makes you laugh. Kudos should also be given to the fact that AK’s bowling action and the cricketing scenes look extremely real and thrilling. The real cricketers only add to the authenticity of the entire thing.
Overall, PH is AK’s baby all the way. AK laughs, cries, stares, smiles, blushes, bowls, revolts, sacrifices. The important thing is that whatever he does, he does it with a subtlety and realism that is a first for him. Pargat Singh Kahlon touches your heart, moves you to tears, makes you laugh, and stays with you after the show has ended. AK completely immerses himself into the character which in turn immerses the audience into Pargat. PH is definitely a sort of milestone in AK’s career and it should succeed at the BO because it deserves to.