I don’t want to really review this film because Gautham Menon just came for my talk show Hands Up (the episode will air on March 12, 9.30 p.m. NDTV HINDU) and anything I say will be seen as saying good things about him in return. Haha!
So as much as I liked the film personally (Gave it 7.5/10) I am going to skip to the parts that didn’t work for me. And if you haven’t yet seen the film, you may want to come back to this post once you’ve watched it so that I don’t ruin the ending for you.
Stop reading because the spoilers begins here:
This isn’t the regular love story, this is a ‘Why did I fall in love ‘ story and the related angst soulfully voiced by Alphonse (Aromale) is what’s making the film strike a chord with the audiences.
And my problem is that this angst is stifled by an ending that’s neither here nor there.
Gautham now wants us to believe they can be friends. Really? Do we want to be friends with people responsible for that very angst, let alone invite them for a premiere of the film all about that?
The last 10-12 minutes of the film (Specifically, the moment from where he sees on Brooklyn Bridge) including the ‘Happily everafter’ song (Gautham says it’s only two and a half minutes long) I thought were the weakest portions of the film despite the fact that it had one of the best scenes in the film – the scene at Central Park on the park bench.
Instantly, I connected it to a similar scene at the end of 500 Days of Summer and I realised how the situation the couple was in was almost similar (Gautham hasn’t seen 500 Days nor is the screenplay even remotely similar and to be honest, the similarities I am talking about are limited to the ‘Boy Loves Girl, Girl Leaves Boy’ knot and the related angst. )
Here’s the now-married girl sitting with the guy who still loves her and… just as you think here comes the part where she gives him closure (like in 500 Days of Summer), she stumps him (and us the audience) by saying she never married and that she loves him very much and the Happily Everafter song sequence begins…
As the song begins, we know for a fact that there’s a twist waiting at the end of it, one that’s a fairly easy guess – that he’s only imagining it (the audience at this point really does not care for parental opposition because the lovers are together).
So for two and a half minutes during the song, we wonder why is the director trying to make us believe that All is well….
And then, predictably, the hero makes it a part of his film within the film and that film ends with Trisha sitting next to him… Not as his girlfriend as we’ve been led to believe until now but as a married woman who wants to be friends with him.
I find it hard to believe that a girl who didn’t walk eight feet towards him at the bridge to say Hi would travel over eight thousand miles to watch a film he made about her, especially when she hates cinema. Yes, maybe she was just in town conveniently or maybe she wanted to end things on a good note and stick to her promise of watching his film…
But my problem, honestly, is that Gautham wants them to be friends at the end of it. Because apparently, that’s how it is in life. Gautham believes that this redeems the girl’s character and makes us feel that she isn’t a total bitch.
First, I don’t think the girl becomes a bitch by not showing up or even saying Hi to the boy because she obviously has her reasons and we see the angst and helplessness in her eyes now that she is married even when she walks away from him.
Second, her presence at the premiere does not in any way change our impression of her – she was confused and consistently so. And her confusion led to the boy’s angst.
Yes, it is a very mature ending no doubt about that. It’s very mature to think that the boy and the girl can be friends. But one look at the guy in that last scene and we know he’s a broken man. He still feels the same way about her and she’s moved on. He hasn’t got his closure.
Which is why that scene in 500 Days of Summer comes to mind. Summer is nice enough to provide him with that closure but here, Gautham does not let Jesse give the boy his closure.
The boy could have got his closure by never seeing the girl again – his last memories of her being walking away from him at the bridge. Yes, Trisha could’ve still continued being part of his desired reality (his movie ending) and watched the film with him as literally the girl of his dreams and given him the closure after it. All she had to say was: “Jesse chapter over, what next? And yes, whatever happened, happened for the best.” and given him a parting hug. The completion of the film could’ve been that cathartic release of the angst that will enable his closure with that parting hug from the girl who wasn’t there.
Her absence at the premiere would have drilled home the point that she didn’t love him enough. And that would have been tragic that the last image he had of her was – her walking away from him on the bridge, a classic larger than life moment of chance, of films, of unrequited love.
But her presence just brings us to the real world awkwardness of being friends with your ex. Who wants that shit? This is why many of my friends who watched the film said they couldn’t feel the tragedy. Nor did they feel happy that he made the film. They just had mixed reactions, felt it was awkward.
Maybe Gautham wanted us to feel awkward about it. Maybe that’s his take on tragedy – being friends with the girl you love (not once loved, but still love).
I, for one, wouldn’t wish it upon my enemy. 🙂
Which is why the ending didn’t quite work for me.