December 8, 2022

Gehraiyaan Review: An intimate portrayal of complex relationships


Synopsis: The rush of waves embodies the spirit of life — monotony, turbulence and abandon. Gehraiyaan observes this parallel through the tempestuous relationship between its distinctly different protagonists, Alisha (Deepika Padukone) and Zain (Siddhant Chaturvedi) as they find solace and suffering in each other.

Review: Alisha, a yoga instructor and Zain, a real estate hotshot, are instantly attracted to each other from the moment they meet. A heady phase of passion consumes the two until reality hits them in the face. Deep into the relationship, the couple finds themselves on a slippery slope as things get complicated. Zain is engaged to Alisha’s cousin Tia (Ananya Panday) and Alisha happens to be in a live-in relationship with her partner of six years Karan (Dhairya Karwa). Can their clandestine romance survive the complexities of life?

Infidelity is just the tip of the iceberg. With Gehraiyaan, director Shakun Batra sinks his teeth into an unknown territory as far Hindi films are concerned — domestic noir. Clearly inspired by Woody Allen’s psychological thriller ‘Match Point’ (2005), Batra’s take on intimacy goes far deeper than physical. Can you be emotionally naked in front of those you love? If yes, does the world make you regret your vulnerability and moments of weakness?

Ridden by anxiety, Alisha, swamped with the baggage of her troubled childhood, is unable to let go of the demons that plagued her mother. We subconsciously carry the weight of our parents’ perception of love, don’t we? Batra’s unfiltered observation of relationships and dysfunctional families as even seen in his previous film (Kapoor & Sons) is remarkable. Nothing is surface level. He tries to decode complex human behaviour and its consequences, through a story that’s tough to narrate.

Deepika Padukone delivers some heart-wrenching moments without batting an eye. Siddhant too, holds his own in essaying a character that’s deeply layered and conflicted. Both are outstanding in their respective roles that expect their heart to explode and face to maintain a stoic silence. There couldn’t have been a better casting for this love story that quietly unfolds like a thriller and draws you into its deep dark world. The silence of its characters is juxtaposed against the roaring of waves. Like a ticking time bomb, you fear the consequences the two might face. The cinematography and sound also play a significant part in the film’s subtly dramatic canvas. Scenes are designed with a lot of pauses and silences, which are for us to interpret and grasp.

What does stick out like a sore thumb here is the film’s length and its lack of clarity. The story digresses heavily in the latter half and makes you wonder where it is headed. With a runtime of 2 hours 28 minutes, it does get a tad monotonous and tiring. Overall, the film has some lovely lingering moments. If you want to look beyond the usual, Gehraiyaan definitely has depth that’s worthy of being explored.

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