Bollywood is currently caught in the one trick pony mindset. The success of Pushpa: The Rise suddenly awoke the giants of B-Town from their deep slumber and made them smell like coffee. Now everyone wants to praise Southern actors, remake Southern movies and reel on Oo Antava. But we are betting that this phase will end soon, very soon. The only film that could break this rut is Gehraiyaan. Yes, it doesn’t have a superhero or article song, or a VFX budget of Rs 100 crore, but there is something immensely appealing about this project. If things go well and the movie looks like the trailer we just watched, then Gehraiyaan will be a game-changer for its main cast – Deepika Padukone, Ananya Panday, Siddhant Chaturvedi and Dhairya Karwa.
Gehraiyaan’s appeal goes beyond the A-list names he brags about or that steamy kiss between Deepika and Siddhant. The magic and juice comes from its captain – Shakun Batra, a director whose sensibility has been on point so far. Even though the 2012 release Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu failed to do well at the box office, despite having a top cast – Kareena Kapoor Khan and Imran Khan, Shakun’s take on relationships came across as real and fresh. His 2016 film Kapoor & Sons was groundbreaking in that it was able to weave an LGBT narrative so subtly and beautifully into what was marketed as a mainstream commercial effort. Shakun’s Gehraiyaan, from what we hear, is perhaps his darkest take on the subject of love and desire. In a space cluttered with remakes and dubbed movies, Gehraiyaan has the potential to punch us in our emotional guts and fill the big void in a story that resonates with everyone who has fallen in love and fallen in love.
For Deepika Padukone, Gehraiyaan could also be a game changer. It’s been a while since we’ve seen her stripped down and stripped of the cosmetic veil that surrounds a superstar. Deepika’s last outing in a lead role was Meghna Gulzar’s 2020 release Chhapaak – a film that strayed somewhat from what he set out to achieve. We recently watched Deepika on the big screen as Kapil Dev’s wife in the brilliant ’83, and it reminded us of the magic she creates on the big screen. Even in these fleeting moments, Deepika reminded us why she is still a force to be reckoned with. And if the word on the street is to be believed, then Deepika has outdone herself in Batra’s dark take on this relationship gone wrong. We’ve seen her play different roles when it comes to showcasing the different sides of someone in love or even despised – the turning point in her career was her stripping performance in Homi Adjani’s Cocktail, where she played the Veronica shamelessly. In Tamasha, she moved into different territory as Tara and despite the film’s mixed reviews, it remains one of her bravest performances. With Gehraiyaan, Deepika dug her nails deeper into her character and tried to show a side we may not have seen before – raw and unfiltered.
For Ananya Panday, Gehraiyaan is clearly the peak of his very young graphic career. She is featured as the film’s surprise package. For someone who has clearly managed to balance the murky territory of being just a cute face on the gram to sign movies with A-list stars, Ananya has definitely carved out a place for herself in an isolated industry. In Khaali Peeli and Pati Patni Aur Woh we managed to get a glimpse of her acting skills and while the characters or movies were nothing to rave about, there is an appeal to Ananya that is undeniable. For the Gen Z she represents, Ananya has the guts, and together with Gehraiyaan, we may be able to see just how far she can push herself if given the chance. The industry will definitely be watching his performance in the film very closely and his performance in the acting department will perhaps pave the way for his future films.
Siddhant Chaturvedi seems to be finally out of the MC Sher label he’s been wearing since bursting onto the scene with the 2019 film Gully Boy. Siddhant has nothing to do with MC Sher in real life. Fairly shy, introverted who likes to express his thoughts through his lyrics on Instagram, Siddhant seems like the perfect cast for the film.
Love and lust are emotions that run a common thread between Gehraiyaan’s four tracks and Siddhant’s crackling chemistry with Deepika has already created waves since this poster was posted on social media. In a highly competitive industry where a Friday decides your fate, Siddhant has managed to keep his fans curious. Even though his latest release, Bunty Aur Babli 2, didn’t do wonders for him, Gehraiyaan might just do the trick. For those who have seen the rushes rave about his scenes with Deepika, the rage and anger and whatever heartbreak he may have brought to the table is commended. It could be another breakthrough performance for the actor in 2022.
Gehraiyaan’s fourth wheel is Dhairya Karwa, who was recently seen as Ravi Shastri in 83. We haven’t seen him much other than Uri: The Surgical Strike and 83, but his role in Shakun’s film is one that could put him in the spotlight he is pursuing. Cast by Karan Johar under his talent agency, Dhairya will have to go beyond its dapper looks and deep dive to match the cast of Gehraiyaan. Being the newest child in the group, there will also be pressure on him to deliver in the big stages and it has to be seen how he matches up with his co-stars. All it takes is a great monologue or a well-written scene for someone new to make an impression and from what the film promises, Gehraiyaan seems to have plenty of such moments.
Like its title, Gehraiyaan seems like an opportunity for its lead actors to dive deep and reconnect with their craft and reinvent themselves. Such chances come rarely. And we hope the cast will pick it up and make the most of it. Gehraiyaan is out February 11 on Amazon Prime Video.
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