Love is a complicated thing and Bollywood romances love to feed off that drama. Fortunately, 2 States — a love story between Punjabi Krish (Arjun Kapoor) and south Indian Ananya (Alia Bhatt) — isn’t overly melodramatic and emotional. Adapted from Indian novelist Chetan Bhagat’s best-seller 2 States: The Story Of My Marriage, this romantic drama hits all the right notes and makes for an entertaining (first) watch.
In no time, you are rooting for Krish and Ananya; the young, handsome couple who are hopelessly in love, but face stiff resistance from their conservative parents. Like all good Indian parents, they have a dream: to see their children live happily ever after in an arranged marriage. But their kids have other plans.
While Ananya and Krish’s courtship at an elite MBA college is swift and uncomplicated, there’s trouble in paradise when they harbour an impossible dream to convert and unite their parents, belonging to two different cultures, before they get hitched. Their attempts to woo their respective in-laws with diametrically different outlooks in life are genuine and evoke a few laughs. My favourite moment was the scene in which an earnest Krish proposes marriage to Ananya and her family with four golden rings in his hand. He wants a wife, her dad, her mum, the bro ... the whole works. Kapoor looked like a giant puppy and our hearts went out to him.
A big shout-out to him for matching up to the beloved character brought alive by Bhagat in the book. It’s not often that a film is as enjoyable as the book. But like most of Bhagat’s novels — the book equivalent of eating a tub of popcorn — they are fun to eat (or watch in this case), but are easily forgettable. Credit here goes to Kapoor for making it more memorable. He makes his character stand out without shedding shirts or flashing an oil-slick torso (remember Gunday?).
Bhatt as Ananya looks incredibly pretty but doesn’t nail her role as well as Kapoor. The scene in which she breaks into a classical south Indian dance at a Punjabi wedding should have been avoided. But it’s a tiny blip in an otherwise enjoyable love story.
While they are the central characters, it was entertaining to watch the director flesh out the troubled strains between Krish and his violence-prone father, played by the talented actor Ronit Roy. Their decision to call it a truce was as uplifting as watching the lovers unite at the end of the film. Don’t skip this if you have a thing for happily-ever-after endings.