Cast: Akash Puri, Neha Shetty
Director: Puri Jagannadh
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. However, the ordeal wasn’t as simple as that. 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 movie is overdone. Yet somehow Puri managed to keep the actual plot of the film underwhelming.
Roshan (Akash Puri), an engineer, feels drawn to the mountains specifically the Himalayas and loves going for treks. Afreen (Neha Shetty) is a young exchange student from Pakistan who manages to convince her parents and an obviously evil fiance to allow her to finish her education. The one thing common about the two of them is that they see 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 how they did in this one.
As much as the director tried to glorify and dramatise the 1971 war and the LOC, it only came across as insensitive. More so, when the heroine goes on to say that she wished the war hadn’t ended so that her beloved wouldn’t have to leave! Puri also managed to include a montage of people from different parts of India vouching and 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 was borderline cartoonish.
If there is anything appreciable about this film considering it is a Puri Jagannadh’s creation is the fact that the hero doesn’t stalk or harass the girl in any way. However, the misogyny still surfaces. Even the misplaced “respect women” references seem patronising. The locations and the cinematography were breathtaking. Only disturbed by the pedestrian graphics added at places. Akash Puri’s attempt to act was sincere. He did have the body language of a Puri hero, but he has a long way to go in terms of actual acting prowess. Neha Shetty did what she could in the flat and uninteresting character. Not that the hero had much of an arc either. The music was a respite if you are able to shut out the unsuitable lyrics shrouded with Hindi buzzwords.
Mehbooba lacks the soul, to say the least. The love-birds don’t seem to care about how much damage they might have done 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!
— Srividya Palaparthi firstname.lastname@example.org @PSrividya53