Patiala House Movie Review

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Rumored to be inspired by the trials of Monty Panesar, the first Sikh to make it to the English cricket team, Patiala House finally gives you an Akshay Kumar film where you won’t be waiting for it to get over.

Parghat Singh Kahlon or Gattu (Akshay Kumar) is a promising fast bowler who gets a call to play for his country and what could be more prestigious for an Indian than to don white fennels? But his father Gurtej Kahlon (Rishi Kapoor) denies him the chance for Gattu’s country happens to be England. Gurtej becomes a different man the day his family members are killed in a racial attack and vehemently fights the whites one every instance. Gurtej might be living in England but for all practical purposes he still considers himself an Indian and won’t let his British citizen of a son play for the ‘enemy. From the moment Gattu gives in everyone in Gurtej’s extended family, is expected to do what the patriarch deems fit. Seventeen years later Gattu gets a second shot when a desperate English cricket board looks up to him to transform England’s sagging fortunes on the field. Once again Gattu refuses but thanks to lady love Simran (Anushka Sharma) and the inmates of Patiala House, who see this as an opportunity to break away from disciplinarian Gurtej, Gattu for the first time decides to live his life.

Patiala House is one of the best things that could have happened to Akshay Kumar in years. With this film he manages to remind you that there is a little more to him than the inanity he had been indulging in for sometime now. Kumar has the ability to play the smooth operator and the poker faced loser with equal ease and this is a film where he seems to be having great fun as an actor. There are many things in Patiala House that seem far fetched- Simran and the bunch managing to keep the identity of Kaali, the pseudonym for Gattu as his dons the English colors but still the film ends up working on some level. One of the things conspicuously missing from the drama is the simple fact that no one questions Gurtej’s apparent hypocrisy. He has no qualms availing all facilities in England but when it comes to his English citizen son playing for England than he changes ‘his’ country in the blink of an eye. Nikhil Advani and Anvita Dutt Guptan’s screenplay had a few places where such a conflict could have made it more interesting than the basic fare it happily chooses to be.

Patiala House has a host of characters that can’t be differentiated from each other and they all end up looking the same. Advani and Guptan make no effort to add something new to the supporting cast and after a while you really don’t care who’s who or doing what. Akshay Kumar underplays Gattu almost to the level of boredom and that’s something which makes him look better than his recent films. Anushka Sharma yet again plays the Punjabi kudi and Dimple Kapadia gets rewarded for her endearing presence with a big rona-dhona talkie scene in the end.

The thing that really shines in Patiala House is Rish Kapoor’s Gurtej Singh Kahlon. One of the most successful leading men of Hindi cinema, Kapoor is perhaps the only one who managed to hold his own for two decades alongside a juggernaut called Amitabh Bachchan. Much like Bachchan, Kapoor found it extremely difficult to make the transition from a leading man to a supporting actor but while Bachchan took embarrassingly long with abysmal efforts like Laal Badshah, Kapoor’s transition has been better. With Hum Tum, Namastey London, Love Aaj Kal and now Patiala House we finally have an option for Amitabh Bachchan!

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