Mehbooba Review: A soulless reincarnation drama
Everything in this film is overdone, but it still ends up being underwhelming as a whole
Boy meets girl. They fall in love. Their love is doomed because they are from either side of the border, both in their present and past lives. That's it. Sounds like it would make for a nice, simple film, but it doesn't. The heavy-handed-yet-convoluted patriotism, the glib love-story and to top it all, the beaten-to-death reincarnation drama: absolutely everything in this film is overdone. Yet somehow, Puri manages to keep the actual plot of the film underwhelming.
Cast: Akash Puri, Neha Shetty
Director: Puri Jagannadh
Roshan (Akash Puri), an engineer, feels drawn to the mountains, specifically the Himalayas, and loves going away for treks. Afreen (Neha Shetty) is a young exchange student from Pakistan who manages to convince her parents and an obviously evil fiancé to allow her to finish her education. The one thing common about the two of them is that they have dreams of war and sing songs that they never heard before (in this life that is). The entirety of the first half is a tiresome series of situations where they almost meet. The second half is dedicated to the flashback set during the Indo-Pak war, where Roshan is Kabir, a Pakistani soldier, and Afreen is Madira, an Indian damsel in distress. The rest of the film narrates how the couple didn't end up together in the previous birth and shows how they do in this one.
All the director's efforts to glorify and dramatise the 1971 war and the LOC, only came across as insensitive. More so, when the heroine goes on to say that she wishes the war hadn't ended so that her beloved wouldn't have to leave! Puri also manages to include a montage of people from different parts of India cheering for Roshan to find his love in Pakistan through social media. One of them even says that he should at least get the girl as they couldn't win the World Cup. Instances where logic goes for a toss are too many to count. The final fight at the LOC with soldiers at either side hurling abuses (and bazookas) at each other is borderline cartoonish.
If there is anything appreciable about this film, it is the fact that the hero doesn't stalk or harass the girl in any way. However, misogyny still surfaces. Even the misplaced "respect women" references seem patronising. The locations and the cinematography are breathtaking, but are disturbed by the pedestrian graphics in some places. Akash Puri's attempt to act is sincere, aned he does have the body language of a Puri hero, but he has a long way to go in terms of actual acting prowess. Neha Shetty does what she can in a flat and uninteresting character. Not that the hero has much of an arc either. The music is pleasant if you can shut out the unsuitable lyrics filled with Hindi buzzwords.
Mehbooba lacks soul. The love-birds don't seem to care about how much damage they may do to the diplomatic ties between the countries just to be together. Oh, well. Love is blind. And you might end up believing it's dumb too after watching this film!