Director: Punit Malhotra
IE Rating: 1/2
Let's just say you should be grateful Karan Johar doesn't see an India beyond the metros more often. For when a Johar production heads to a village, as Gori Tere Pyaar Mein! does, it is the sort of village where people dressed in tie-and-dyes hang around in the fringes to fawn over the city slicks who will deliver them from a Collector.
Yes, in this fake Gujarat village with its charmingly innocent and clueless people, the Collector is an offshoot of the Bollywood moneylenders of yore, with nary a concession for the fact that he is after all a government official, bound by some rules if not many. Here he operates from presumably his home, with lackeys doing padicures and messaging him as he slaps people around.
But that should be the least of our worries, yes sir. Let's start with Kareena Kapoor's Dia. That she talks about corruption in a Gandhi topi, promises to solve our troubles within days if "chosen" and leads candle-light marches is the least of our grouses. For, she doesn't stop at that. Her litany of causes runs the course from sex workers to AIDS victims to orphans to crabs that are about to be eaten to stray dogs to finally the aforementioned village, with the charmingly meaningless name of Jhumli. None of which by the way stops her from jiggling her bottom to a celebration of buttocks in true Punjabi-wedding style.
For Punjabis do figure in a big way - and how could they not - even if the film starts off promisingly from a Tamil household in Bangalore. Chennai Express novelty is quickly done away with. Imran and Shraddha are the Tamil half and because of the sheer artificiality of Kareena's social "awareness", their emphasised "shallowness" runs deeper.
Punit Malhotra did alright with his easygoing, easily forgotten I Hate Luv Storys. Imran is quite the same here, not holding anything sacred or dear in that very with-it cool way, and then letting forth on what he really thinks about fellow rich kids like him with bleeding hearts. However Malhotra aims to be different without a difference here and his core audience suitably placated, he rambles onto that village and its unabashedly and proudly Lagaan ending.
Bleeding hearts can be messy, especially when all you have been aiming for so far are dainty handkerchiefs to dab some eyes.