Phillauri has received mixed reviews from critics. Out of the 16 reviews that we have compiled, the film has scored 2.3 stars out of 5.
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Phillauri Review by Indicine
Phillauri looks like a deft movie because it has been shot so well. The camerawork is absolutely top notch with very carefully crafted frames and scenes. The production design makes the film look a lot bigger in scale than it normally would have been. The visual effects are stunning as the CGI ghost character doesn’t tow the stereotypical line of a Bollywood bhoot, they almost reinvent the Bollywood bhoot. The editing could have been tighter because the film didn’t need to be almost 2.5 hours long. The music of Phillauri suits the nature, even though none of the songs have become Bonafide chartbusters. The songs in the movie, work.
Phillauri Review by Bollywood Hungama
Despite the film’s concept having immense potential, writer Anvita Dutt fails create magic with her writing. The film’s story and screenplay have no logic or direction. Besides being confusing, the film’s screenplay also slows down the narrative. PHILLAURI, which begins on a positive and funny note, starts getting endlessly dragged and predictable. Thanks to the confused screenplay, the viewers will find it extremely tough to relate to. The film’s dialogues (Anvita Dutt) are lucid and do not hamper the film’s proceedings. The film has its share of comic moments in the first half, but that too disappears as the narrative moves forward.
Phillauri Review by Manjusha Radhakrishnan on Gulfnews
The computer graphics in this movie is notable, barring the climax which feels overdone. It’s the predictability of the story that lets this film done. You know what’s coming long before it plays out and that makes it tedious and soul-destroying.
Phillauri Review by Shubhra Gupta on Indian Express
The pacing is not just languid, it is positively slow, and it allows scenes to go on for much longer than they should. I found myself getting impatient in too many places. And though Suraj Sharma and Mehreen Peerzada are likeable and easy on the eye, surrounded by their very agreeable large Punjabi families (of special note is the whiskey-swigging grandma who doles out self-improvement tips and has the answer to a crucial ghostly problem), they are flat. Anushka Sharma is good, but not as good as she can be, and that too only in bits and pieces. A lovely song — ‘dam dam dam hai dua sau pankh lagaa tere naam ke’– which features her and Dosanjh, made me sigh. With pleasure. As a romantic interlude between two adults, it is the beating heart of ‘Phillauri’.
Phillauri Review by Sreeju Sudhakaran on Bollywood Life
Phillauri has some spirited performance from its lead actors, unfortunately, the same spirit has not gone into the making of the movie. What’s started off as a promising film ends up as a boring and a tiresome hotchpotch by the end. Going by the nearly empty theatre hall where I watched the movie and the muted response the movie received at the end, I am sure #ShashiWasThere is actually scaring people away from the screens. Highly Avoidable!
Review by Devarsi Ghosh on India Today
Phillauri’s concept is good and novel. But the delivery is what North Indians call KLPD. The climactic payoff at the end comes way too easily. It’s just lazy writing after a point. If only Shashi emerged in the writer’s room before filming and smacked some imagination into her head.
Review by Ritika Handoo on Zeenews
Diljit and Anushka’s chemistry looks fresh and believable. The supporting cast too has done a great job. Besides, the music by Shashwat Sachdev and Jasleen Royal and the background score by Sameer Uddin is quite in sync. But some things remain unexplained in the narrative. Like how does Kanan know that Anu can just see the dupatta on Shashi and not the ghost like him? Editing could have been a bit tighter as some scenes look too much stretched.
Review by Rohit Bhatnagar on Deccan Chronicle
Debutante director Anshai Lal does a phenomenal job of picking up a subject which has two parallel stories. Defining romance in the past and the present day is a task which he handles sharply. First half looks slow and goes in the characters’ establishment but the second half melts your heart. The narrative of the film looks a lot like Imtiaz Ali’s Love Aaj Kal but Phillauri has its own historical backdrop as a saving grace. In fact, one sequence in the film reminds you of Lawrence D’souza’s cult romantic film Saajan.
Review by Nihit Bhave on The Times Of India
The actors sweep in and carry the film, though. With his body language and voice modulation, Suraj Sharma nails the confused-aimless millennial and lightens the mood. Mehreen Pirzada’s helpless and hopelessly-in-love Anu is endearing. Diljit Dosanjh brings his trademark goodness to a rather bland role. And as the translucent ghost (kudos to the VFX team), Anushka delivers a solid performance with a weird mix of sadness and humour. It seems as though Phillauri could have gone in a lot of directions, but it took the road usually travelled.
Review by Tushar Joshi on DNA India
It isn’t easy playing a friendly ghost. You not only have to come across as likeable but there also have an element of believability. Full marks to the VFX team for making Anushka look like a spirit. Her movements in the frame, the close ups and even her attempt to spook Suraj win major brownie points. Anshai Lal does ample research to recreate the pre independence era. Everything from the costumes, to the props to the set decor transports you to that era. Anushka’s Shashi scenes are more impressive than her moments as the ghost. She manages to make us feel for her even if the premise is laden with cliches. Diljit strikes a chord with his performance and we wish there were more scenes with him and Anushka. Suraj Sharma too is a perfect cast in the role of a bumbling young man whose life is now in the hands of a ghost!
Review by Saibal Chatterjee on NDTVMovies
Phillauri is an unconventional Bollywood entertainer that is watchable all the way. It does not rely on star power. It draws its strength instead from an off-kilter screenplay that for once might make you want to believe in the existence of ghosts, especially if they happen to be like the one that Anushka Sharma gets into the spirit of.
Review by Sweta Kaushal on Hindustan Times
Phillauri does not give away any interesting bit almost till the interval. It is only in the second half when the film focusses on Diljit-Anushka’s story that it becomes engaging enough. And the credit for this must be given where it is due – the enchanting presence of the two actors and the lovely chemistry between them.
Review by Sukanya Verma on Rediff
Producer and leading lady Anushka Sharma looks ethereal and conveys the enlightenment of a woman before her time. What is amiss in her performance is whimsy. Perhaps, well behaved is not such a nice trait for a ghost after all. Dijit Dosanjh employs his earthy charm to Phillauri’s many songs and scene whereas Suraj Sharma’s terrified commitment-phobe is like witnessing Chuckie Finister in live-action. He does it convincingly too but it’s exasperating when Phillauri doesn’t allow him to be anything else. Newcomer Mehreen Peerzada exudes an impressive confidence and vulnerability, which is even more laudable given cinematographer’s Vishal Sinha’s penchant for close-ups.
Review by Kunal Guha on Mumbai Mirror
Debutant director Anshai Lal sticks to the tropes by weaving in the lighter scenes with chest-beating drama to ensure the proceedings don’t turn too overwhelming. But he fails to maintain the economy of screen time in the telling of this tale which is surely 30 minutes over. This is perhaps because many emphasise on the importance of editing as a function and it’s ability to transform storytelling but few empower their editors to take difficult calls. Depicting Punjab in 1919 was barely a task as the film largely sticks to courtyards of rural homes and dusty markets and maidans.
Review by Manisha Lakhe on Nowrunning
When the end finally comes upon the audience, the feeling of being arm-twisted into tearing up for a historic tragedy makes you feel disconnected. You just want the whole thing to be over with. Even this takes more than 20 minutes. You wish the editing had been so much tighter, and the filmmaker had given us more of the romance than painful village wedding rituals that seem to go on and on… The film has flashes of brilliance, but the tedious sequences go on for so long you think you have aged when you emerge out into the sunshine
Review by Jaidev Hemmady on Movietalkies
Though the initial twenty minutes of the film seem to promise an entertaining tale, the plot starts going downhill from then on. The pace is slow and sluggish and the screenplay is quite loose. While Suraj and Shashi’s sequences seem promising, the portion involving Shashi and her life in pre-Independent India, ends up boring the hell out of you with its pace. Anushka and Diljit have zero chemistry, which further proves to be the film’s undoing and the music of the film is not memorable at all. The second half has been stretched unnecessarily and the director seems eager to take twenty minutes to explain something that could have taken five minutes. The special effects are quite decent, but that’s the only good thing to be said about this flick.
Review by Rajeev Masand on News18
All four leads put in strong performances, but Suraj Sharma’s flair for physical comedy is a refreshing revelation, and Diljit Dosanjh is impressive, particularly in the intense bits. Anushka Sharma, who’s also produced the film, brings a nice old-world charm to Shashi. She shines both in the dramatic portions and the comedic ones. Phillauri isn’t a consistently smooth ride. It’s uneven and bumpy and unforgivably slow in portions. But a lot of it works and some of it flies. In a landscape where original ideas are hard to come by, I’m willing to settle for that.
Review by Mohar Basu on Mid-Day India
A film like this is frustrating, to be frank. The narrative is refreshingly written, brimming with breezy humour. But it is ironic that the haunting spirit is lacking, both metaphorically and literally speaking.
Review by Vishal Verma on Glamsham
After NH10, the promos of PHILLAURI promised some fun but it sadly ends as a pun on itself in trying to do so many things in one film, a comedy that too supernatural one and an old fashioned romance that forces the friendly spirit to hang out from the screen wondering who is suppose to take charge of the proceedings.
Phillauri Review by Indiaglitz
The curse of second half strikes back as the narrative gets super slow, bland and boring at times. The initial romance track between Anushka and Diljit is interesting and so is the later part of their love story. It’s the middle part which drags to the fullest and looses it’s connect with Suraj and Mehreen’s track. Even this unique climax scene gets diluted as it’s stretched to the fullest. If only the writing in the second half would have been strong and the connect factor would have been high, the impact in the finale would have been like a masterstroke. Sadly, due to lengthy and bland second half, after a point you might not even care about Diljit and Anushka’s love story. The romantic track of Anushka fails to connect and also lacks the intensity. The movie should have been bit crispier and with some more detailing in the second half. Anushka Sharma role should have been meatier.
Review by Meeta on Wogma
Movies like Phillauri make me wonder about talented actors, producers with a said vision, music, special effects – some bits underdone, some overdone and some like story – not done at all. And how not all departments put together can compensate for the one that is way off the mark.
Review by Rima Bhatia on Bollyspice
Phillauri should do well at the box office as the initial trailers were well presented and were good enough to spark the interest in the audience, the challenge the film will now see is whether it can keep going through word of mouth. With a run time of 2 hours the film could have been edited by at least 10 minutes; however there are some aspects of the film that the team have managed to keep quiet about and leave till the very end to explain. If you don’t know your history it will keep you guessing, if you do it might be a bit predictable. A special mention goes to the films VFX team for making ghost Shashi so beautiful.
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