Mausam U/A; Romance, drama Dir: Pankaj Kapoor Cast: Shahid Kapoor, Sonam Kapoor, Supriya Pathak and Anupam Kher Rating: ** 1/2
When an awe-inspiring actor makes a debut as a director, there are obviously high expectations. Pankaj Kapoor's Mausam in parts lives up to the sensitivity with which he has portrayed some of the finest characters over the years, but sadly it mostly meanders into a bumbling mess.
Sikh boy Harry (Shahid) falls in love with Muslim girl Ayaat (Sonam), who has come to his village to stay with her bua (Supriya). Their love blossoms with one of the most romantic scenes in Bollywood. It's a tender moment where the couple exchanges small notes with each other, she scribbling with a mehendi cone in her hand. There is yet another breathtaking rain scene. Unfortunately, these individual sparks don't make up the mood of the entire film.
The two, amidst tragic riots and wars, live their own self-inflicted tragedy over decades. They keep meeting, missing and pining for each other during the long absences. The love and longing of a love-struck couple could have easily become a heart-tugging tale, but instead the lead characters end up getting on your nerves with their shocking lack of common sense.
Does the director actually want us to believe that in this day and age of communication, two well-educated and well-to-do adults are not able to trace each other, even when they have common acquaintances? To top it off, when they actually do meet, they don't approach each other! I suspect that's just to frustrate the audience even more than they already are at this point.
The movie starts with a great tempo, with the characters of the village well etched (I absolutely loved the elderly, clueless head of the village). Shahid as the young, bright boy is brilliant. He is energetic, convincing and oh yes, looks smashing too. But, surprisingly, in the second half the same Harry, now an IAF officer, comes across as stiff, fake and unbelievable. It's almost like he himself couldn't believe that the script could go on meandering for so long. Sonam looks fabulous in the film, but perhaps is handicapped by the hapless character (one who is resigned to fate) she plays.
I hope Pankaj Kapoor directs another film soon, perhaps utilising those flashes of brilliance a little more. Next time, I hope he gives us more of those sensitive, romantic moments, instead of trying to encompass all that is happening around the world. And yes, a shorter film would be much welcome.