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Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas Is Heartbreaking For Wrong Reasons



Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas

Starring Karan Deol,Sahher Bambba

Directed  by Sunny Deol

Rating: ** ½ (two and a half stars)

There is much that’s beautiful in Sunny Deol’s debut film for his son, the handsome and earnest Karan Deol. Scenic Manali, for one. The cinematographers(there are  two of them)  Himman Dhameja  and  Ragul Dharuman  love  the landscape. The camera captures  the  natural unspoilt beauty  of Manali and Himachal Pradesh as  the relationship between Karan(Deol) a local adventure-sports guide  and  a visiting  tourist  Saher(Sahher Bammba) develops.

Their relationships grows.  The narrative doesn’t. The  first-half , though marked by some excellent  shots of  the couple climbing down valleys. Wading through crystal waters  and going up  rocky mountains,  is   struck by a chronic case  of  inertia.

Nothing happens. Except that we see  the  young couple  bicker and  flirt.Oh yes,  somewhere in the midst  of this meet-cute  boredom Saher  bursts  into the classic Kishore  Kumar song ‘Pal pal dil ke paas’.It is  the  only reference  to the  film’s title. Come to think of it, the  film could have been titled Pal Pal  Hill Ke  Paas, because that’s where the plot remains, unmoved  unmoving,  till midpoint when in a cloudburst  of characters  the  screen is flooded with screaming shouting grandmoms, aunts,  nephews, nieces, not to forget  a  hammy rick spoilt   suitor (Akaash Ahuja)  who can’t take  rejection.

Makes  you  grateful that the hero is an orphan. Karan Deol is  quite  sincere in playing the orphaned mountaineer. His love for rugged sports is well  utilized  by director Sunny Deol in  the first- half. The second-half sees  young Karan  partying and  fighting.  And in  a rage-filled climax he bashes up not  only the  villain but his entire family.

 No dhai  kilo  ka haath, this.  But he plans to get there. 

Karan’s  co-star Sahher is spunky and  bright,  the way Amrita Singh was in Sunny Deol’s debut film Betaab.In fact  Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas quite often recollects Betaab. But what worked  36 years  ago—warring families,  jealous  suitors, etc—is  just not the right launch stuff  for a  promising newcomer  today.

Sunny Deol’s writers(Jaspinder Singh Bath and Ravi Shankaran)try to update  the mothballed  material with  references to  whatsapp messages and  viral videos. But  the effort seems  half-hearted and  the film remains trapped in a time warp, singing a song that lovers  stopped humming ages ago.

To their credit the  young newcomers seem to  believe in  the material offered to them  in the name  of love. They  try to  make  a credible  couple. Some of  the supporting cast specially Sachin Khdekar as Saher’s  beleaguered father and Meghna  Malik as  a scheming  politician, are excellent.

But where-oh-where is the heart  in this  heartbreakingly bare  plot? There  is so much that  Sunny Deol  could have done to ensure a smooth debut for  his son.Instead he  ensnares  the film in clichés, and finally  leaves us with an over-long  film that  is gasping for breath after having run  itself frantically  into a corner.

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