Director: Nikhil Advani

Cast: Akshay Kumar, Anushka Sharma, Rishi Kapoor, Dimple Kapadia, Jeneva Talwar, Hard Kaur

I must admit that I was very apprehensive while entering the theatre to watch Patiala House. Taking into account Nikhil Advani’s last directorial venture, Chandni Chowk to China and Akshay Kumar’s releases last year, which included the likes of Khatta Meetha, Action Replayy, and Tees Maar Khan, I felt my apprehension was quite justified. However, the film turned out to be a decent watch despite the basic plot being quite outrageous.

The film is about Pargat Singh Kahlon (Akshay Kumar) and his transformation from a shopkeeper in Southall to the cricketer who helps the English cricket team reach new heights. Rishi Kapoor, who plays Pargat’s father, is an ageing resident of Southall, who hates anything “gora” and is content to be the de facto leader of a group of Indian who have converted a small portion of England into a mini Punjab. He upholds all Indian traditions and values, renounces everything foreign, and constantly wants himself and his family to be the perfect example of what an ‘ideal Indian’ should be like. Pargat is a middle aged man, who was supposedly destined to be the face of pace bowling 17 years back, but since his father didn’t allow him to play for England; he gave up all his dreams and settled into a mediocre life which was considered appropriate by his “Bauji”. However, fate gives him another opportunity to return to cricket, and though he tries very hard not to give in to temptation and go against the will of his father, it becomes almost impossible for him to stay off the pitch with Simran (Anushka Sharma) doing everything possible in order to ensure that her childhood sweetheart would follow his passion. Somewhere, in the course of this already absurd story, is also a Punjabi wedding sequence, a rap song, an item number, a heart attack, and many more of the essentials of a super-hit Bollywood movie. But thankfully, the director manages all that quite craftily.

All the actors in the movie were pretty good  but Anushka Sharma undoubtedly takes the cake as the bubbly, overtly talkative Simran. Rishi Kapoor lives up to his reputation of being a good actor and Dimple Kapadia does a small but nice job as Rishi Kapoor’s wife. The supporting cast has also done well, especially Hard Kaur, who has not only acted, but also sung in the movie. And finally, Akshay Kumar was tolerable, after a string of films in which he forced the audience to walk out of the theatre every time he came on screen.  A couple of guest appearances by cricketers like Nasser Hussain, Andrew Symonds, Hershelle Gibbs, and Kamran Akmal helped to add that extra bit of zing to the movie.

The music by Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy, again wasn’t too bad, and most of the numbers had a desi element to them – like most of the songs which have been composed by the trio in the past.

Overall, Patiala House is not a movie which keeps you wanting more. In fact, considering the plot has been a dragged a bit too much at parts, you’d want it to end at times. On the contrary, it’s again, not a movie from which you will come out cursing the director or the actors. Watch it if you have the time and money to spare – not because you want to watch a brilliant film, but because you need a bit of Bollywood to spice your weekend up.