“Gori Tere Pyaar Mein” is one of those well-intentioned Hindi romcoms that stays loyal to the clichés and sacrifices itself at the altar of tried and tested formula. Needless to say, the story of this week’s release starring Kareena Kapoor Khan (she finally made the Khan official) and Imran Khan, “GTPM” is no rocket science.
It’s a turf director Punit Malhotra can walk with a blindfold. Tamilian brat cum American returned architect Sriram (Imran) meets social activist “NGO type” Punjabi girl Dia (Kareena) whose idea of holiday is not the Tomatina festival, and instantly falls for her. A lot of tooh-taa, anti-corruption-AIDS-save the world “Shabana Azmi” naarebaazi later, they decide to get married only to fall apart over an ugly spat on corporate reality versus superficial armchair activism.
The two part ways, and post interval, we are transported from the posh metro setting of Bangalore to a dusty village on Gujarat-MP border Jhumli where Gori behen (Kareena) is working hard to fight the corrupt collector (Anupam Kher) and get a bridge made across the river for the village. Our Gora, Sriram follows his Gori and vows to bring her back, but not before giving us an overdose of Lagaan, building a bridge and learning a couple of life lessons. As much as we want the rural India to be captured on the silver screen, our points are for the first half of the film and Imran’s smooth operator act especially the part where he lifts his loongi and makes a dash, giving the traditional kashi run of grooms a real anjaam,
Now, the second half - when you’ve been treated to Pipli Live, Jhumli Times doesn’t seem that fetching. Dusty, dirty, and all gobar, it stood in stark contrast to the bright city lights. Joker’s Paglapur looked more alive than the drab and boredom of this village whose soul karta dharta is Dia with her Mother India lofty ideals our man falls for. We’d like to quote Rajeev Masand here: “this one’s done tooh death.”