In the beginning I must admit that Mausam is one movie I have been eagerly waiting to watch. Primarily due to Pankaj Kapur, am a big fan of his, there is something intelligent about his performances always. He appears sincere and dedicated while acting and I expected something similar, if not better, from his debut directorial venture.
Alas, Mausam is a big letdown from those expectations.
The movie starts off in a Punjab village (circa 1992) with Shahid Kapur (Harinder/Harry) playing the village prankster aspiring to fly high and waiting for his IAF call. Enter SonamKapoor (Aayat), a Kashmiri migrant who has fled the valley in search for calm. Even though the setup of a Punjabi village/wedding is completely clichéd, the execution is surprisingly refreshing. The romance between Shahid and Sonam is subtle with barely a word spoken between them. Just a few stares here and there, just a few chance meetings here and there, but charmingnonetheless. Nice!
Supported by some lovely music (Pritam) and scenic cinematography (Binod Pradhan), the first hour of the movie gets your expectations high. All is set for the epic love story to unfold.
Sadly, it is mostly downhill from this point onwards.
The lovers face their first separation (of many) in the background of the Babri Masjid demolition and Mumbai blasts. Next thing we know, the simple village girl is learning dance in Scotland and Shahid has grown a moustache and flies an IAF jet. The transition is so quick that it kind of leaves the viewer detached.
From here on, it’s a series of meetings and separations for the love-struck couple in the backdrop of unfortunate events (from Kargil to Godhra), and finally ending in one of the most ridiculous climax scenes of recent times.Good conceptually, the film starts to falter from the point when it expects the viewer to start believing that the couple cannot find any means to communicate with each other and hence are separate. Clearly, the email/facebook loving junta will find this hard to digest even if this is set in a time before they were established.
Also, the war scenes are a big disappointment. All Shahid keeps doing is posing in front of the planes and mouthing random instructions. The poorly shot sequences add to the disillusionment of the exasperated viewer already finding it hard to believe the gigantic difficulties faced by the couple just to get in touch!
Eventually, it is the performances by the lead couple that makes you sit through this almost 3 hour long well intended but,sadly, poorly executed saga. Shahid Kapoor is up to the mark throughout and especially excellent in the village boy parts. He surely deserves a few more hits under his belt, though I doubt if this one would do him any favours. Sonam Kapoor looks absolutely gorgeous, let me repeat for better impact, looks absolutely gorgeous and pitches in a fine performance too. There is something about her on screen which the others in her league don’t seem to have. Screen presence maybe,because with minimal or zero dialogues she still manages to hold the viewer’s maximum attention. Hopefully, she continues to do more of these kinds of roles and says no than you to the Thank You type ones.
Coming back to the debutant director, Pankaj Kapoor, I kind of feel bad for him. Like his acting, he has put in a sincere effort in his direction too and there are several subtle smart points which a director should exhibit (don’t miss the danger sign right at the end as a train moves out of Ahmedabad station). But the writing and editing fails him eventually. His grip on the viewer loosens as the movie progresses and the plot is completely lost in the climax scene. Seriously, the person who wrote/approved that scene deserves to be fired.
Though better than the rubbish that breaks box office records these days, Mausam will get added to ever burgeoning list of Bollywood movies that were well intentioned, could have been better but simply were not.
Rating: 2.5/5 (the generous extra 0.5 purely for the lead couple)
Dessert Note (DN, as desserts are served after main course, a dessert note is served after the main article):
Dear Shahid, a few queries from my end.
If my guess is correct, ever since Kaminey was such a success, you consider horses lucky for yourself no? Hence, you included that ridiculous horse in the even more ridiculous final scene of the movie. And everyone including the stupid horse was in white! Was it the same Kaminey horse though?
Also, does Papa Pankaj have a similar fetish for pipes? No, not the small ones at homes, but the big cylindrical ones which lie abandoned on highways. Why else, were so many scenes filmed inside them?
First, your career chat with village friends in a pipe, then you and Sonam making out in a pipe and the final reunion meeting point, also, (surprise surprise) in a pipe! Weirdness!