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Directed by Abhishek Varman, the movie is overlong, doesn’t really do anything aesthetically extraordinary and skims over the one thing its male lead – Arjun Kapoor – says in the beginning: “the story should be the hero, no matter if the story has a hero or not”.

Pretty quaint and idealistic, and perhaps spoken a little too soon.

Does it work?

Based on Chetan Bhagat’s autobiographical novel, 2 States is about Krish (Kapoor), a young Punjabi college lad who falls for a zesty Tamilian girl Ananya (Alia Bhatt).

A scene from movie, "2 States". – Courtesy Photo
A scene from movie, "2 States". – Courtesy Photo

Romance between the two leads to some songs about young love (put to music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy), and a subsequent, and mandatory, meet the (very close-minded) parents’ scenario.

Krish has daddy issues (played by Ronit Roy) and a kind-hearted mom with a nasty streak (Amrita Singh). Ananya’s parents are more docile; her mom (Revathy) is fond of singing, her dad (Shivkumar Subramaniam) is fed up with office work.

Suffice to say, no one approves of Punjab marrying Tamil Nadu.

Varman (also credited with the screenplay) comes with the skill set to make the most of the narrative – there are brief jabs at cultural differences, though not as much as one would have hoped – but at the end of the day, his adaptation lacks the wit of Bhagat’s novel.

A scene from movie, "2 States". – Courtesy Photo
A scene from movie, "2 States". – Courtesy Photo

Krish makes one realise that we are living at the beginning of a new age of future Bollywood heroes. Still monotone in voice – a trait he shares with almost every new actor from Ranbir Kapoor’s time – he comes prepackaged with wounded puppy dog-ish looks and a very reserved take on life; there is little doubt of him bottling up dreams of being a writer – especially when he looks like one (the backpack he carries around, his specs and the old type-writer he uses to jot down his novel are dead giveaways).

Ananya, on the other hand, has a smart head on her shoulders and great determination, but that’s about it. Then again, it doesn’t seem as if there was any room for anything else in the character.

A scene from movie, "2 States". – Courtesy Photo
A scene from movie, "2 States". – Courtesy Photo

The supporting cast, though, are all aces. Roy, who has a brief but commanding presence, has fragility within the gruff he puts up. Singh is an astonishing caricature of that nasty aunt you may know. Ravathy and Subramaniam don’t need words of praise.

The other support, by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, is infectious; the sound track – with standouts Locha-e-Ulfut, Uffo and Mast Magan – has that free-flowing, liberating feel of fresh love, with one statutory track that reminds us how hard ‘real life’ love is – even if it’s just on the big-screen.

The final word

The movie has a lot going for it – the acting, direction and the soundtrack for starters – and also few things going against it (the long running time, being one).

Ace cinematographer Binod Pradhan – Devdas, 1942 a Love Story, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag – lights his scenes well, but it feels like the technical aspects are missing.

Overall, 2 States is simple, yet a good watch.

Released by UTV Motion Pictures, ‘2 States’ is rated U/A, featuring young love with all the bells and whistles that can be shown on screen (lip-locking – and lot of it – isn’t a crime at the censor board these days).

Directed by Abhishek Varman; Produced by Karan Johar, Sajid Nadiadwala; Written by Chetan Bhagat, Mr. Varman, ; Based on 2 States by Chetan Bhagat; Cinematography by Binod Pradhan; Editing by Namrata Rao; Music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy.

Starring: Arjun Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Ronit Roy, Amrita Singh, Revathy and Shivkumar Subramaniam.