Movie Review: PATIALA HOUSE (2011)
After an amazing debut with KAL HO NAA HO, followed by some super horrible movies like CHANDNI CHAWK TO CHINA and SALAAM-E-ISHQ, I was very tense about Nikhil Advani’s next film this year, PATIALA HOUSE. However I was very relieved and thrilled that the film wasn’t a huge ass train wreck that his last two films were.
Rating: 4 Out Of 5 StarsWow… Punjabis have huge ass families… 😐
PATIALA HOUSE happens to be Nikhil Advani’s fourth film as a director, and it seems he’s been able to reconnect with his brand of dramatic storytelling that he regaled us with in KAL HO NAA HO. Akshay Kumar plays a 34 year old man working at a small convenience store, after sacrificing his own dreams of playing cricket, according to his father’s demands. Sports, dreams, family life, racism… all of these are touched upon in bulk with PATIALA HOUSE. And man oh man is it good.
This movie is probably the best Indian sports movie that I’ve seen set in contemporary times with an everyday theme, so not counting LAGAAN and IQBAL. This movie also deals with another Indian issue that touches a lot of youth of today; doing what they want in life, compared to what their parents want them to do. Akshay Kumar’s character is a shell of a man, after he passed up an opportunity to play for England’s cricket team as one of the best fast bowlers in the country. This was because his very Indian father, who took upon himself to wage a one man war against the English, refused to allow his son to play ‘for the enemy’. Being a good son, Kumar’s character has suffered silently for years, at the expense of losing respect in the eyes of all his cousins in their extended family. The same cousins whose own dreams and plans are stalled due to the example set by their eldest brother.
Enter a lovable kid into this mix, who finds out about Kumar’s character’s talent, and encourages and coaxes him into trying out for England’s new cricket team, along with Anushka Sharma’s character. The issue of the disapproving father still exists, so the entire hoard of cousins undertake an enormous mission to try to keep the news from the father by limiting his access to telephones, televisions, newspapers and even the community at large.
Akshay Kumar’s narration throughout the film really adds a lot of depth and emotion. Unlike normal narration, he’s not really talking about what happened/is happening… but more just his own personal reactions and thoughts to the scenes unfolding in front of the audience. And given that his character wasn’t the typical emotional speech giving guy, it worked.
PATIALA HOUSE really does work as a great family drama, with a lot of light moments, a sweet love story and the sports elements are pretty good for an Indian film. The story is very unique and original, reminding me of some Hollywood films such as THE NATURAL (1984) or even THE ROOKIE (2002). The age factor addressed in the film is a great message for South Asian audiences that it’s never too late to follow one’s dreams.