When an outstanding actor makes his debut as a director, the audience that has been faithfully following his cinema over the last decades expects much him from. But true blue Pankaj Kapur fans will find themselves disappointed with Mausam.
The film tells the story of Harry (Shahid Kapoor) and Aayat (Sonam Kapoor), who fall in love as young adolescents in a village in Punjab. Across time and over different seasons, they battle many quirks of fate and great distances to build a life together. Yet curiously, in a decade that brought the Internet, email and mobile phones to nations across the globe, the star-crossed lovers are unable to find a way to contact each other. As the postman drops one undelivered letter after another under Harry’s door, you find yourself repeatedly advising Aayat, "try Hotmail, silly!"
The glaring loopholes in the script do not end there. As the film progresses, you also wonder about the absurdity of a situation where a single family is at the receiving end of almost every major communal conflict since independence. Whether it’s Kashmir, Ayodhya, the Mumbai blasts, Kargil, the attack on the World Trade Center and the Gujarat riots, Aayat bears the brunt of it all.
In a film ridden with melodrama and many old clichés, the only redemption lies in the film’s sophisticated production values and spellbinding choreography. Both make for extremely watchable cinema.
The conception of the two lead actors must also be given its due credit. Sonam Kapoor is exquisitely beautiful as Aayat. It is also another intense performance from Shahid Kapoor, who continues to grow from strength to strength with every new release.
But this apart, Mausam has nothing fresh to offer. Further, the slow pace set at the editing table and an ordinary music score add to the film’s many woes.
Unlike Pankaj’s landmark acting performances, Mausam is not unforgettable. It’s well intentioned cinema, and yet lacks soul-perhaps because the film’s message overrides the director’s commitment to great cinema.
Yet for the die-hard romantic, who is enthralled by a beautiful spectacle, this might still be an evening well spent at the cinema. For all others I would go with a rating of 2 for Mausam. This is one film that you can safely give a miss.
The ratings and what they mean
The ratings are on a scale of 1 to 5 and try to strike that difficult balance between cinematic critique and giving the regular film buff a peek into what’s playing in town and worth a watch.
1: Watch this film only if the director pays you
2: You could safely give this film a miss
2.5: A one time watch
3: Good cinema. Money well spent
4: Great cinema. A standing ovation
5: Simply speechless. A masterpiece. ⊕