Gehraiyaan review: A labyrinthine of love, lust, and choices

Both Alisha (Deepika Padukone) and Zain (Siddhant Chaturvedi) find comfort in each other's choices opening a better wave between them amid past childhood trauma.
Deepika Padukone and Siddhant Chaturvedi in 'Gehraiyaan'
Deepika Padukone and Siddhant Chaturvedi in 'Gehraiyaan'

Chennai

Director: Shakun Batra
Cast: Deepika Padukone, Siddhant Chaturvedi, Ananya Panday, Dhairya Karwa, Naseeruddin Shah and Rajat Kapoor
Music directors: OAFF and Savera
Synopsis: An ambitious woman (Alisha Khanna) finds herself at crossroads in life after her six-year-long relationship grows monotonous and her career seems to have hit a roadblock. However, the arrival of her cousin, Tia, and her fiancé, Zain, with whom she bonds over a troubled past and a common wish to break from its confines.
Rating: 3/5
In a key metaphor in this story graph, a wave is a disturbance that propagates through a medium. What is the medium and how it propagates between Alisha and Zain forming divergences is exactly what Gehraiyaan is.
Directed by Shakun Batra, who co-wrote the film with writers Ayesha Devitre Dhillon, Yash Sahai, and Sumit Roy delve deep into the intricate of modern-day relationships from the viewpoint of Alisha (Deepika Padukone), a 30-year-old yoga instructor stuck in a relationship with a struggling writer (Dhairya Karwa) and Zain, a real estate entrepreneur engaged with Alisha's cousin Tia (Ananya Panday) with a fancy Tuscany wedding for them in the offing.
Right from the beginning, Batra creates this feeling of awkward silence mixed with a slight of discomfort between Alisha and Zain when they four meet on a cruise after several years. They both freeze, are confused, and keep secrets that they don't want to let go off. Like Zoya Akhtar's Dil Dhadakne Do, the emotions set deep within the characters who are flawed amid the calm exteriors of the luxurious life they live.
Gehraiyaan's main theme is infidelity, which is been done to dust from past till now like Marupadiyum (1993), Avargal (1977) to Karan Johar's Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (2006), but what differs is the tone and approach to it by not over glorifying or underplaying it without showing its consequences.
Deepika Padukone carries the weight of the film and portrays Alisha in a very restrained manner with the emotions she has been given. She portrays Alisha's desire, trauma, frustrations, and the reluctance of coming out of the zone with ease and sensitivity. It is incredible to see her have back and forth with Zain on whether the relationship works at all. While the actions of the couple deciding to hook up question the morality, the film never glorifies its act and that really does take a frightening turn in the end.
Editor Nithesh Dhillion with cinematographer Kaushal Shah makes Gehraiyaan a neo-noir film with slick scenes of waves gushing through the sea that alludes to the tussle between the couple - Alisha and Zain and the score by OAFF and Savera really amplify the mood of the film.
For the most part, the characters are like-minded people until the last bit that feels like an inspirational quote taken from the internet, and like Batra's previous film Kapoor & Sons, he relies on exploring the characters that are well settled yet are deeply flawed.
But, the film steers long after it loses its steam and the supporting actors are shaded with a very light tone that only Naseeruddin Shah as the calm Alisha's father and Ananya Panday as Tia who is doubtful about her boyfriend shines through.
On the whole, Gehraiyaan has a unique quality to its writing and direction starting from its opening scene, it isn't all the way great and all the way bad. The film portrays well the complexity in a relationship and to be honest, it's so refreshing to see a completely original Bollywood film well made after so many remakes that have been announced and have come out.

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