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Circa 1992 Mallukot-based Harinder falls head-over-heels in love with Aayat, who has come to live there with her Bua, Fatimah, from Kashmir. Hoping to woo and marry her, despite of receiving romantic overtures from village belle, Lajjo, he, instead faces heartbreak following the attack on Babri Masjid by right-wing Hindu extremists. Seeking safety in Bombay, Aayat re-locates there with her father and Bua. The couple are then fated to meet in Scotland during 1999 where Harinder is now an Indian Air Force Pilot and Aayat is a ballet dancer. Both meet and re-kindle their romance, as well as set a date for their wedding. Unfortunately, the Kargil war compels Harinder to return home, and Aayat does not hear from him. Little does she know that he has been gravely injured and his left arm is paralyzed. After being discharged he still hopes to connect with her, returns to Scotland, and is told they have re-located to the United States. Following the events of 9-11, he gets a lead that she may... Written by
I love and respect Pankaj Kapoor, as an actor a lot, but honestly cannot appreciate his first directorial venture with the same spirit.
Despite the fact that I am a die-hard fan of the Living Legend, Pankaj Kapoor from almost two decades, I am sorry that I am unable to praise his first film as a director with the same spirits.
The major reason for my dissatisfaction from MAUSAM remains its unexpectedly weak script having such strange sequences of co-incidences where the lead couple, suddenly meet each just like that both within India as well as abroad. And the most bizarre sequence among these was the foreign one (Switzerland), where Shahid is sitting in a train and he discovers Sonam standing there alone in the middle of snowy mountains with her packed bags and she is not even standing on the exact Station platform in a very questionable way. In fact throughout the film, they both keep bumping into each other, as if there is someone truly desperate to write their eternal love story from the sky above. At first they meet in Punjab, then Scotland, Switzerland and then towards the end, finally in Ahmadabad again. Particularly the shift from Punjab to Scotland puzzles the viewer hugely as there is no explanation given for that in the film itself.
The second big factor which works against the film is its near 3 hours long duration which is too lengthy considering its unimpressive story build-up. The whole first hour of the film says nothing except showing the culture of Punjab with some childishly executed comical moments focusing on a particular sect. Truly speaking, I never expected Pankaj Kapoor making fun of few SIKH characters in his self-directed film quite purposefully. As I felt the entire first half of the film could have been easily wrapped up in only 30-40 minutes which eventually could have saved it from getting so uninteresting and even boring. Post intermission too the story has nothing new to say other than the usual plot of misconceptions and gap of communication between the loving couple which becomes the only cause of their separation.
Frankly, in a romantic film, there is a basic requirement that the viewers must feel the love flowing between its lead couple and everyone should be able to relate with their heartbreaking departure from each other. But here, either the proceedings are too dead slow or they just jump from one point to another which never lets the viewer connect with its emotional storyline in the desired manner. MAUSAM is a pure love story of two innocent characters coming from distinctive religions, that's fine. But the entertainment factor remains completely missing throughout the film, which really becomes painful after a while. Neither the AIR FORCE PLOT insertion (which is only included to bring in the KARGIL event), nor the reference of various communal riots, suffered by different countries is able to pull the viewer in. However, the music does give you some soothing moments in this tiring never ending saga but sadly the soundtrack is again not "anything exceptional" from Pritam. As usual I also felt traces of the song "Om Shanti Om" from KARZ in the track "Tashan Mein Rehna".
The film is hugely over-length and tends to go on and on with more deliberately created situations in the plot (within a span of time of a decade), where the lead couple meets repeatedly after many long gaps. And one of these absurd co-incidence comes right in the end where they both meet each other once again in the middle of "Gujarat Godhra Riots" all of a sudden. This weakly written and unconvincing climax is also one of the major drawbacks of the film which tries to bring in Shahid as the only Savior Hero to save the Girl in the end and it simply doesn't justify their decade long love story from any angle.
Performance wise, both Shahid and Sonam have really worked hard for their respective roles having various shades and character transformations in the script. Shahid is surely better in the second half and looks like overdoing it in the Punjab part of the film. But Sonam is the real winner here since she perfectly underplays her role, exactly as required by the script. Probably this is her best performance till date, contrary to her fashion Diva image in the Industry. From the rest of the cast only Supriya Pathak and Manoj Pahwa register their presence impressively and Anupam Kher simply remains wasted.
In the end, I would like to share, that it strongly seems Pankaj Kapoor had only a one line idea before writing the script of MAUSAM, which must have been "A Love Story written around all the major Communal Hatred Events happened in India and abroad in the last two decades." Since he couldn't start with the Sikh Riots in 1984, so he begins from PUNJAB itself, with his Hero mentioning the BLUE STAR movement and its aftermaths in his dialogues. Talking about the homeless issue of Kashmiri Pandits, he then moves into the Babri Masjid Issue, followed by Mumbai Riots, Twin Tower Attack in America, Kargil Warin India and then ending it all within the Gujarat Riots on a positive note.
So, giving an extra star for this brilliant thought alone, I wish to give my best wishes to Pankaj Kapoor for his next directorial project, moving ahead of this forgettable first attempt called MAUSAM.
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