Shakun Batra directed Gehraiyaan was one of the most anticipated and controversial movies released on 11th February on the OTT platform- Amazon Prime this year.
The movie faced a lot of heat even before its release because of the sensitive topic it deals with that is, ‘Infidelity’. Most of the viewers anticipated it to be another glorification of ‘cheating’ in Bollywood, passed on as ‘urban way of life’ or ‘romantification of cheating in the name of love,’ which has been a classic Bollywood trope for a long time.
However, Gehraiyaan as a film touches upon a variety of subjects such as childhood trauma, the emptiness of adult relationships, bonding with parents, etc. The discourse is beyond infidelity which Batra and his team focus upon.
Before jumping into the ocean of morality, let’s talk about Gehraiyaan from a technical perspective.
This 2hr 28min long film revolves around a 30-year-old, ambitious yoga instructor Alisha (Deepika Padukone) who lives a middle-class life with her struggling writer boyfriend Karan (Dharya Karwa). Karan has a layback attitude and makes no contribution to sustain their relationship emotionally or financially. Alisha herself is struggling financially and emotionally and in these circumstances, she meets her cousin Tia (Ananya Pandey) and her fiance Zain (Siddhant Chaturvedi) who are living picture-perfect life. How both the characters of Alisha and Zain, emotionally and physically share a bond while keeping a secret from their respective partners and how that impacts each individual’s life is what unfolds in Gehraiyaan.
Talking about the cinematography of the film by Kaushal Shah, each of the frames looks beautiful and surreal. The film will visually appeal the audience and keep them immersed in this more than two-hour-long journey.
Batra as the director played with the colour and tone of the film perfectly. The major colour scheme of the film is blue which promotes the idea of coldness, detachment and gives a feeling of emptiness that the characters are going through on-screen. There are no way any hunky-dory cliche Bollywood romantic frames anywhere in the movie. Each frame will set the mood of the inner battle that the characters are going through.
A special mention to Barta’s use of Ocean shots denoting the “literal Gehraiyaan” in which each character feel themselves to be immersed in time to time. These Cutaways are cleverly placed at each point of time, to resonate with the chaos the characters are into in their respective lives.
Apart from the visuals, the sound of the movie nowhere hampers the cinematic experience by spoon-feeding what the characters are going through in their lives rather it facilitates the melancholy feeling that the director wanted to create in the later half. The title track and ‘Doobye’ are already popular on different social media sites like reels of Instagram.
However, some viewers might find it a slow burn as the film is more than 2 hours long. Alisha and Zain and the downhill they face in their relationship part is a bit stretched.
Also, the characters of the other two partners are not fleshed out with the same nuance as Alisha. That’s why even when they are being cheated upon the viewers may not feel any empathy for Tia and Karna as the story hardly focuses upon them as individuals.
Now the big question of infidelity. So the picture does not try to glorify infidelity in any form, as previous films in which infidelity was passed on just like a joke in films like Biwi no.1 or Masti, this film does portray the ramification of cheating in again not in a ‘preachy way’ by taking a moral high ground on infidelity. Alisha and Zain both pay heavy prices because of the choices they make, the film nowhere ends with a happy family montage, which makes the issue of glorification of infidelity pointless.
More than infidelity the picture talks about adult relationships and their complexions, from feeling emotionally detached from your partner or feeling of being stuck with a person in the relationship, which is a reality for many.
The film touches on the sensitive topic of childhood trauma and how it can hamper the way we handle our relationships later on in our lives. Again not using childhood traumas to justify cheating on your partner, but showcasing how different individuals can find solace with different people by bonding over different issues of their lives and portraying that relationships are more than black and white commitments.
Gehraiyaan can be on your valentine watchlist, which may give you meat to think about your respective lives and relationship. So we will recommend you to watch the film with your partners this Valentine week.