Phillauri – A ghost bride in waiting

‘I see dead people’ is one of the cheesiest lines written by Hollywood writers for M.Night.Shyamalan’s 1998 movie – The Sixth sense. Do ghosts really exist? I won’t go further deep in theory about supernatural elements. Here Shashi Phillauri has decided to become my ghostly muse to free me from my writer’s block. She wanted to see her story featured in my upcoming article. Here I am now writing my exclusive article on Phillauri. After all, I can’t mess with a ghost, especially when the ghost is a hardcore Punjabi Kudi. Here you go baby!!

Kanan, a Canada based Punjabi Munda (played by Suraj Sharma the boy from Life of Pi) returns to his hometown to get hitched to his longtime girlfriend Anu. It is a fairy tale wedding going to happen for the couple. But Kanan can’t marry his sweet heart as he is ‘Manglik’ (according to horoscope a Manglik’s marriage is never prosperous). The only remedy for this astrological hurdle is to get the groom married to a tree. After much insistence, Kanan performs the ritual of getting married to a tree. The real trouble begins for Kanan when he realizes that unknowingly he is married off to a ghost who had made the tree her abode. The ghostly encounter of Kanan with the apparition makes him go crazy.

According to rituals, the tree is chopped off once the Manglik’s marriage is done with the tree. Since the tree is chopped off, the ghost loses her abode and now chases Kanan. The bride ghost ‘Shashi’ starts narrating her story to Kanan and the story moves to pre-independent era in 1919. The movie swings between two timelines – 1919 and 2017. Shashi, a lovely poet from a village called ‘Phillaur’ in Punjab publishes her poem under a pen name which is famous among the readers. (Shashi is Jane Austen of Punjab in this movie) 

Coincidentally, Rooplal a street singer with a heart of Casanova sings the lyrics and poems penned by Shashi little realizing that she is the same girl he has fallen in love with. When he discovers her identity, he promises to return back on Baisakhi festival when he has enough money to get married to her. But destiny has different plans for Shashi. Rooplal never returns. In a fit of depression, Shashi commits suicide by hanging from a tree. Her untimely death turns her into a ghostly bride in waiting (This bride has nothing to do with Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride). Now Shashi can’t get freed from the mortal world. Her quest for long lost love is unfulfilled. Will Shashi find her long lost love? Will Kanan help Shashi to find her long lost love? All these queries will be answered in the 2017 movie – Phillauri. Shashi had strictly ordered me to not write any spoilers about her story.

What fascinated me to watch ‘Phillauri’ was Anushka Sharma. Secondly the premise of story is set in Punjab. My fondness for Punjabi culture, food and beautiful gals was second reason why I wanted to watch it. In terms of storytelling, ‘Phillauri’ is a refreshing change from stereotyped Bollywood rom-coms. The story takes time to grow. It is a novel plot brought on screen. For those who love masala rom-coms won’t sit through the movie. The movie has a poetic feel and is slow paced. The slow-paced narration is the beauty of this story and here the viewer bonds with the tender love story of Shashi and Rooplal.

The look and feel of this movie is timeless. The visual presentation of the 1919 Punjab is breath taking. If you love your roots, you will connect with the story line. The story of this movie is connected with an actual historical incident happened in 1919 on eve of Baisakhi. The infamous incident changes the lives of both Shashi and Rooplal. After so much warning given by my ghostly muse Shashi, I am giving spoilers for this story. (She will literally kill me after reading this review). ‘Phillauri’ has drawn inspirations from several movies (Lovely Bones, If I stay, Invisible, Corpse Bride etc and even a Ruskin Bond short story). Actress Anushka Sharma has donned the hat of producer for her second production venture and hasn’t left any stone unturned to make Phillauri a delightful watch. Apart from Anushka Sharma, Suraj Sharma and Diljit Singh Dosanjh make their presence felt in their sincere performances. After Udta Punjab, Diljit is the new emerging talent in Bollywood. What attracted me in this movie was Mehreen Pirzada, the new fresh talent who shines in her first movie. She plays Anu, the love interest of Suraj Sharma.

Phillauri is a delightful and visually appealing rom-com that is winning the hearts of audience worldwide. This movie is far more entertaining than Paheli and Bhootnath.

If you love watching entertaining ghost movies, then watch the 1992 movie – Chamatkar and 1995 Hollywood movie – Casper. Apart from this recommendations, do watch Demi Moore’s movie – The Ghost which was a cult movie in 90’s.

I want to sincerely thank my ghostly muse Shashi for becoming my inspiration and guide to pen down this story. Inspiration comes in all forms even if it is ghostly. For now, I am freed from my writer’s block. I guess it is time for Shashi to return back to heaven. Hope I have justified her story and I strongly request her to share this review among her ghostly circles. I guess Mark Zuckerberg must have developed a social networking site for ghosts. No wonder it may be called ‘GhostBook’.

Do watch ‘Phillauri’ at theatres near you. You will fall in love with Shashi, the lovely ghost.

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Bahubali – The Rise of Sivagami (Novel Preview)

Novel – Bahubali: Rise of Sivagami
Author – Anand Neelkantan
Publishers – Westland Books
Release date – 7th March 2017

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Director S.S.Rajamouli’s magnum opus blockbuster – Bahubali will soon be adapted for novel. This spectacular fantasy movie’s prequel will be authored by writer Anand Neelkantan, the famed author of best sellers like Ajaya & Asura. Unlike the movie, this novel will be more detailed and trace the story of Amarendra Bahubali, Bhallaldeva, Kattappa and the fierce queen Sivagami. The first part in this series will be titled – Rise of Sivagami and will be based on Sivagami, the mother of Bhallaldeva and foster guardian of Amarendra Bahubali. The movie Bahubali: The beginning began with the wounded Sivagami protecting an infant child from the soldiers and her death by drowning in the sea. The book will throw a light on her rise as a courageous queen and her journey to seek vengeance with her sworn enemy, the king of Mahishmati.

Prior to starting the project on Bahubali, director S.S.Rajamouli had conceptualized a character called ‘Sivagami’ and was planning to make a sole movie on her. As the story further developed, it evolved into an epic storyline – Bahubali. Sivagami is a fusion of several strong mythological characters like Amba, Kunti, Sita and Draupadi. The Rise of Sivagami is first book in the Bahubali trilogy and it will be really intriguing to read the story of Amarendra Bahubali and why he was slain by Kattappa? As for now the storyline of the book is kept in wraps.

The cover of this upcoming novel was unveiled by actor Rana Duggubatti and director S.S.Rajamouli at Jaipur literary festival 2017 in presence of writer Anand Neelkantan.

The role of Sivagami was played by actress Ramya Krishna in the movie – Bahubali

The cover of this upcoming book has generated lot of curiosity among readers on social networks. For the readers who love fantasy and mythology genre, the Bahubali series will be a literary treat. The movie Bahubali had created a buzz even before its release and was much searched movie on Google. Bahubali: The conclusion is set for release in April 2017, the final chapter in the movie series.

Actress Ramya Krishna as Sivagami in the movie - Bahubali : The beginning

Actress Ramya Krishna as Sivagami in the movie – Bahubali : The beginning

Fantasy books like Harry Potter and Game of thrones have created curiosity even before their release in foreign nations. With the release of Bahubali in book stores, I hope that readers as well as the fans of Bahubali movie will definitely queue up in bookstores to read the origins of Mahishmati.

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If you have enjoyed reading King Arthur, Lord of the rings, Percy Jackson, you will definitely like the Bahubali novel series authored by Anand Neelkantan.