Gehraiyaan Review (No Spoilers): Cassavetes Crossed With Hitchcock

I feel bad using two Western references instead of desi. I suppose I could have said Vijay Anand crossed with Mahesh Bhatt. But this is a Shakun Batra movie, he’s alllllllllll about the Western style filmmaking and it really is more tied to Cassavetes and Hitchcock than anything in Hindi cinema.

I’ll warn you right now, I found this film SO stressful to watch that I had to set a timer for half hours and watch it in increments with breaks. There are two things I find super stressful, people hurting other people, and plots where I can’t see how it’s going to end. And this is BOTH!!!! Messy mess emotional ugly relationships, combined with a sense of mounting complication and doom as I can’t see where it is going. If you are like me, watch it with a timer going and lots of moral support. Preferably with someone else around that you can text going “what the heck? What’s happening???”

Gehraiyaan movie review: Deepika Padukone, Ananya Panday, Siddhant  Chaturvedi starrer is a dark, engaging take on infidelity

Obviously, the other part of this is that it is stressful because it is GOOD. These aren’t simple cardboard people that you can ignore when they feel things, these are people who feel real and have real emotions. The performances are overall excellent, but it also has a lot to do with the directing. Shakun Batra gets his camera right up in their faces, so you can see the little micro-expressions, instead of the perfect performance-y kind of expressions. He likes lots of retakes until the dialogue feels natural and normal. With his camera helping, the difference between the Great actors in the cast and the Good actors in the cast is almost invisible. Almost.

Gonna come right out and say that I have been an Ananya fan since SOTY 2. She has something, she really does. Some sort of naked emotion that comes through on camera. She is perfectly cast in this film, playing the troubled sweet innocent, the one who feels things but not as complicated or deep or strange as other people do. Siddhant Chaturvedi I would put at the same level as her. Sexy, charismatic, draws you in and makes you see how he can be such a charmer and a salesman, and makes you feel his struggles.

Ananya Panday On Gehraiyaan, 'It's Been My Biggest Blessing, To Be A Part  Of This Project'

On the Great side of things, we have Naseerji who is as amazing as always. And Rajat Kapoor, ditto. And then there’s Dips. We already know that she can be amazing in the right role, and this is both the right role and the right style of film for her. Dips’ face has an amazing ability to make you feel for her and with her. And she has an innate maturity that makes her a far better fit for this dissatisfied 30 something woman than she ever is as a perfect little innocent heroine.

The characters build the feelings, and we get fully sucked in to them. And the directing builds a mood. It’s sunny, and then progressively more shadowed, we feel the slow advance of something bad coming. We don’t know what it is, but it’s something. We keep getting bits of details of what is happening and why, but we don’t really need more than the details, it’s just that the tension is being pulled tighter and tighter. The people speak faster and louder and hold themselves tighter, something baaaaaaaaaaad is coming.

Oh, except for Rajat Kapoor! Gotta call him out again. What I love about his performance is how relaxed he is. While everyone else is freaking out all the time, he keeps his body slightly more at ease. We don’t know who he is or where he came from, but he clearly is more in control than anyone else.

Beyond the acting, the plotting is also excellent. It’s a clear homage to a frequently remade novel, but with a twist. Think Don The Remake sort of twist, it actually works better if you know how the story is SUPPOSED to end and then get the shock when it doesn’t go there. There’s a meaning to the twist too, it takes the purpose of the original story, the focus of the original story, and shifts it to the side, makes us go “wait, let’s focus on these other stories instead of that one, let’s think about what that means”.

I really want to talk about the twist and the whole historical perspective of these remakes of the same story again and again, but that has to be saved for the SPOILER review.

19 thoughts on “Gehraiyaan Review (No Spoilers): Cassavetes Crossed With Hitchcock

  1. This is a perfect review for me because I got all the way to about 35 minutes before the end of the film and I was already shaking. The tension is unbelievable! I really have to work my way up to seeing the final minutes of the film.

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  2. Pingback: Gehraiyaan Evaluate (No Spoilers): Cassavetes Crossed With Hitchcock » Filmybilla

  3. Pingback: गेहराइयां समीक्षा (कोई स्पॉयलर नहीं): हिचकॉक के साथ कसावेट्स को पार किया गया - Dailyhant

  4. I really liked this movie. To start off, I did not watch Match Point and have no intention of ever watching it. I don’t watch any Woody Allen movies. But as I was watching it, it weirdly reminded me of Ritesh Batra’s movies — specifically, Our Souls At Night. It had a hypnotic quality to it (with both the visuals and sounds) that just mesmerizes you! Also, I really appreciate Shakun Batra’s vision. He is wanted to explore cheating in all forms without judgement and he did!

    In terms of performances, I was right!!! This movie was perfect for Ananya and Deepika and Ananya in exactly the way I expected it to me. I’ve always liked Ananya also and this movie showed her perfectly. Young, vulnerable, naive, fragile, privileged but not in an OTT Veere kind of way. It works for her. In many ways her acting reminded me of Alia’s in Kapoor and Son. Deepika gets to rely on her maturity and play an extremely layered, complicated, messy character while still making the audience feel and empathize with her because it’s Deepika and she can evoke that in the audience.

    I clearly have a lot of say about this movie and will add more in the spoiler review. But this is a movie where there are plenty of non spoilery things to say as well.

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    • Don’t watch Match Point! Watch A Place in the Sun instead. Or, *Avana Ivan!?*

      On Sun, Feb 13, 2022 at 1:14 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • So Shakun must know a real-life Tia who owns an excellent property, right? (Both Ananya and Alia in K&S are house-owners named Tia).

      Going in, I wasn’t aware of any influences, in fact I didn’t think it would go into ‘crime’ territory at all. I saw some comments mentioning Match Point and remembered its plot, I had watched it long back before I knew anything about Woody Allen. Now, of course, it’s a different story!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I was reading: western look, messy people, ugly relationships… And thought that it’s not for me. But then in the end you mentioned an important twist and now I feel like I should watch it even if I think I don’t have patience for this kind of movie. What should I do?

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    • I think set a timer for 20 minutes, see how you are feeling after that, and if you can’t take it, hop over to the SPOILER review.

      On Sun, Feb 13, 2022 at 2:27 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  6. The tension-building is excellent. I paused it just before things escalated, took a nap and resumed. It’s so satisfying to watch a movie which meets the high expectations I had for it. This being my first time watching Ananya, I was pleasantly surprised by her. Others were of course very good as expected.

    I’m going to watch it again before I comment on the spoiler review, because I think it needs repeat viewing to pick up on certain things. But having read your spoiler review, am I now spoilt for the older movie you referenced?

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  7. Since cheating is my kryptonite, will I hate this and all of the characters by the end? Or is there enough else going on that it’s worth watching anyway?

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    • Definitely doesn’t say cheating is a good idea. Can you handle relating to characters who are cheaters if the film is punishing them for it instead of rewarding them?

      On Mon, Feb 14, 2022 at 8:53 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • I generally seem have a tough time with how cheating is depicted in movies also. As Margaret noted, I have pretty much hated most cheating movies: KANK, Doosara Aadmi, Silsila. I hate them all. But I really loved this one. This doesn’t glorify cheating. It doesn’t present it in a glossy, fun way. Yet — and this might seem like a contradiction — but it also doesn’t judge it. Maybe check out the spoiler review and comments before deciding whether you want to watch it? It is not a light movie. It is not a fast movie. Margaret calls it a cross between Casavetts and Hitchcock and I still think it reminds me of Ritesh Batra’s stuff.

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      • That’s helpful. I can usually handle it when there’s enough other plot going on. Doesn’t make me eager to watch this one even so, but I’ll put it on the list.

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    • I hate cheating in movies too, but I really liked how they built up Deepika’s character where I could understand where she came from and why she did it. It wasn’t sudden or out of the blue.

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      • Yes! And Deepika actually ended her dying relationship after she started cheating, so she was cheating on her cousin, but not on her significant other for most of the film.

        On Tue, Feb 22, 2022 at 4:32 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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