Phillauri Movie Review: Despite The Glitter, It Fails To Impress

Phillauri Review

Phillauri Review

Phillauri Movie Review

Cast – Anushka Sharma, Diljit Dosanjh, Suraj Sharma, Mehreen Pirzada

Directed by – Anshai Lal

Produced by – Anushka Sharma, Karnesh Sharma, Parasmaan

Written by – Anvita Dutt

Screenplay by – Anvita Dutt

Background Score by – Sameer Uddin

Production house – Fox Star Studios, Clean Slate Films

Duration – 2 hours 18 minutes

Genre – RomCom, Drama

Censor Rating – U/A

Phillauri, Anushka Sharma’s Rs 21 crore home production, is a disappointment. If you thought that the story of a spirit haunting an educated young man, claiming to be his wife, is a bit far-fetched, you may do well to remember that Bollywood has only one mantra – Entertainment. And on that count, though, Phillauri inches towards the goal post. But then, when Tim Burton could cash in on a similar theme in his Corpse Bride, why should we be left behind?


The film opens to the return of NRI Kanan (Suraj Sharma), who is back home to wed his childhood sweetheart, Anu (Mehreen Pirzada). Kanan is in love with Anu but not very sure he wants to marry his doting fiancée just yet. To add to his frustration, Kanan is deemed a ‘manglik’ and asked to marry a tree first. As luck would have it, the tree is home to our beloved ghost, Shashi (Anushka Sharma). She now appears to Kanan and claims to be his wife. The movie then goes back and forth between Kanan’s dilemma and Shashi’s love story, set in 1919.

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The sepia tinted flashback takes us to pre-independence India when Shashi is a poet and publishes her pulsing verses under the pen name Phillauri. Also from her village, Phillaur, is a gifted singer played by Diljit Dosanjh. Predictably, the two fall in love amidst family opposition and Dosanjh takes on her pen name to sing and immortalise her songs. He leaves for Amritsar promising to return, but never does.

Kanan and his bride-to-be help Shashi find out the truth of Phillauri’s past, mending their own relationship in the process.


Watch out for Diljit Dosanjh! Not only is he eye candy but also impresses us with his wonderful performance. Dosanjh’s scenes are short and he often leaves us asking for more. Now to the other actor who shines out bright – Mehreen Pirzada. Yes, you heard that right. She’s beautiful and pulls off a difficult part with effortless simplicity.

Surprised we haven’t mentioned Anushka yet? OK, here goes. Anushka has established herself as a spirited and ingenious actor. Her expressions as the ghost are rather bland. On the other hand, her chemistry with Dosanjh sparkles. The two make a great pair and we hope to see more of them in the future.

The supporting cast fails to stand out. An alcohol loving grandmother, superstitious parents-in-law, an oversmart servant – these could have lent Phillauri a robust humour beefing up Kanan’s story. Unfortunately, they fail spectacularly in their efforts.

Phillauri Music Review

The name says it! Phillauri (from Phillaur town in Jalandhar district) comes as a breath of fresh air. Earthy, rustic, soulful songs, thoroughly enjoyable music by debutant director Shashwat Sachdev.

Song – Dum Dum

Singers: Romy, Vivek Hariharan

Duration: 5:13

A soul-stirring Sufi number that you will keep coming back to, time and again. Romy’s earthy voice and the rustic notes are a delight.


Song – Dum Dum (Punjabi Version)

Singers: Romy, Vivek Hariharan

Duration: 6:23

The soul of Punjab and its rich musical traditions steal our hearts. Lyrics by Shelle.


Song – Dum Dum (Reprise)

Singer: Diljit Dosanjh

Duration: 3:49

Diljit Dosanjh does complete justice to this reprise. A song that will outlast the movie by far. Watch out for the instrumental interlude.


Song – Sahiba

Singers: Romy, Pavni Pandey

Duration: 5:30

The best song by far. Once again, the difference between love and music blur in this folk number.


Song – Naughty Billo

Singers:  Diljit Dosanjh, Nakash Aziz, Shilpi Paul, Anushka Sharma (Rap)

Duration: 3:01

A nice dance number.


Song – Bajaake Tumba

Singers: Romy, Shehnaz Akhtar

Duration: 3:18

Standard Punjabi number. Funny and quirky.


The two songs by Jasleen Royal are quite well placed but lack originality.


Song – What’s Up

Singers: Mika Singh, Jasleen Royal

Duration: 3:04

This fun song promises to be this year’s favourite at weddings.


Song – Din Shagna Da

Singers: Jasleen Royal

Duration: 3:36


What’s Good, What’s Bad?

Anshai Lal fails in his directorial debut, Phillauri. Neither is the comedy of Kanan’s tale worth a hearty laugh, nor is Shashi and Phillauri’s love story given the depth it demands. For once, the audience is left wondering if the movie would have been better had Lal come up with a shorter version of it, highlighting the flashback alone. The nationalism that raged across Amritsar at the time was completely ignored.

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The problem with the first half of the film is that most of the really funny scenes were already revealed in the trailer, and the second half edits out Phillauri’s struggles and Shashi’s trauma at being jilted. The climax is rather predictable.

Phillauri is very, very slow – the scenes stretch endlessly and start to bore us a bit. Punjab is a cinematographer’s delight. Phillauri fails to capture the beauty of the region and the quirky fun of Punjabi weddings as well.

The music manages to breathe life back into Phillauri. Music reviews usually ask if the songs will outlive the movie; we are forced to ask ourselves if the film will survive beyond the opening weekend.

Our Verdict

Wait a while and catch Phillauri’s television premier. While it is certainly worth a watch, we’re still not sure if it is worth the time, money, and effort you will spend catching this flick at the multiplex. Having said that, we are painfully aware that the film’s promotions (and music) guarantee a ‘Full-House’ opening weekend.

Rating – 2 ½ stars