There are certain things in Hindi cinema that Karan Johar does better than anyone else. Karan and his retinue of directors at Dharma Productions have perfected the designer romantic fantasy in which pretty and affluent people wearing fashionable clothes grapple with matters of the heart in picturesque locations.
Gori Tere Pyaar Mein! is fun as long as it sticks to the formula. A Tamilian from Bangalore, Sriram, played by Imran Khan, falls in love with a Delhi Punjaban, Dia, played by Kareena Kapoor Khan.
He is a spoilt, materialistic flirt. She is described as an “NGO type.” He tells her: “Tum mujhe Shabana Azmi ki yaad dilati ho.” Of course, in this universe, social activism means feeding stray dogs and candlelight vigils.
Don’t be so shallow, Dia tells Sriram. If you’re willing to be shallow and overlook Kareena’s kohl-lined eyes and nude lipstick as she rails against the world’s injustices, the film is reasonably entertaining. But in the second half, director Punit Malhotra misguidedly moves into Ashutosh Gowariker mode. The plot shifts to a village where Sriram, who just happens to be an architect, must prove his love for Dia by building a bridge that will enable the villagers to have better lives.
These Gujarat villagers seem to be the colourless cousins of the lusty, murderous folk we saw last week in Goliyon ki Raasleela: Ram-Leela. They exist only to be rescued by Sriram and Dia, who fits in by wearing mirror-work salwar kameezes.
The narrative becomes melodramatic and even more synthetic as Punit tries to inject emotion and a sense of nobility that hasn’t been earned. The best thing about Gori Tere Pyaar Mein! is Imran, who maintains an easy charm, even as he’s adjusting to gobar and garibi and solving the problems of our country, one bridge at a time.