Sunny Deol has returned to the director's chair once again with the movie, Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas. Why won't he? His son, Karan Deol, is being launched in Bollywood with the film. Sahher Bambba is also making her debut with the romantic drama. While he does a decent job as the director, maybe, just maybe, Sunny could have picked a better story to tell. In Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas, we meet Karan Sehgal (Karan) who runs a trekking company, that charges an exuberant amount of money from rich people, promising a will-change-your-life adventure. Award-winning, recently-single, magnificently-rich, incredibly-talkative, makeup-obsessed vlogger Sahher Sethi (Saher) is Karan's latest client. Lives of both the characters change over the course of one week they spend together, rappeling down steep glaciers, crossing icy rivers, surviving altitude sickness and savouring the scenery, while sharing personal anecdotes of heartbreaks.
The description of their time together requires some incredible cinematography but more on that in a jiffy. Right now, let us focus on the question of the hour. No, Karan Deol is, unfortunately, not impressive. His one-note acting makes this movie tough to sit through. He maintains a smile on his face, throughout the movie, whether rain or shine but beyond that, we barely get to see Karan perform. Sahher shows potential. She lights up the screen, every time, she is on. Thankfully, to play the talkative girl, she finds a different template than Jab We Met's Geet, which has since become a staple. But the second half scarcely gives her anything to do. Such a disappointment.
The first half of Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas, while interesting to watch, bombs at setting up a plot. The conflict of the story could have been introduced before the interval to hold the attention better. Speaking of the conflict, an ex-boyfriend whose fragile, janta-hai-mera-baap-kaun-hai-ego has been hurt doesn't help the story much. The difference in lifestyles, aspirations, career trajectories might have made for a better plot.
Sunny Deol who infamously said, "That’s the problem, everything has to be brought out", on the #MeToo movement, has the heroine use social media to expose a perpetrator. Growth, but the sad thing is that by the end of the film this remains a loose end. The story sinks Sunny's direction at several points.
The dialogues of the film are quite lame. I kid you not, the following is an actual conversation from the film:
"Karan, dar wo nahi tum rahe ho."
"Main nahi dar raha."
"Karan tum dar rahe ho."
"Nahi dar raha."
"Tum dar rahe ho."
"Han main dar raha hun."
"Karan mat daro!"
I will leave it at that.
The biggest chunk of praise for the film goes to cinematographer Ragul Dharuman. He has captured the beauty of Himachal Pradesh in a way that not many Bollywood filmmakers have been able to. People go gaga over scenes from Yeh Jawaani... and Jab Tak Hai Jaan, wait till you watch India from the lens of Ragul. The breathtakingly beautiful visuals keep you interested in the first half of the film more than leads and the story. Even in the second half, despite the story not allowing much experimentation, the cinematographer manages to find plenty of good shots and camera angles.
I have to give a round of applause to Megna Malik. The actress who sent shivers down your spine as the TV vamp in Na Aana Is Des Laado, plays a supporting role in the movie and stands out from the entire cast. She is hands down the best thing about Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas. Meghna is a masterclass in acting. She grabs your full attention in every scene that she is in. Ugh, if only the leads had put in half as much effort as her in the movie. We need more of this lady on the big screen.
In one of the scenes, Karan is winning the sports car race. But right at the finish line he stops the car and lets everyone else win. This seems to be the funda being followed by director Sunny. He almost reaches there, but doesn't really go there. His last directorial, Ghayal Once Again, had two of the excellent chase sequences in Bollywood. But, the film missed the mark when it came to the story and letting go of the '90s-vibe. Urmila Matondkar starrer Dillagi is my guilty-pleasure watch, but it also loses pace as the story unfolds. Same goes for Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas; the movie could have been a great watch, but Sunny stops before reaching the finishing line.
The cinematography is beyond brilliant
The music of the film is also impressive
Sahher shows potential
Meghna Malik is incredible
The lack of well-built conflict and its resolution in the story
Dialogues are stupendously horrible
If you are a die-hard fan of Sunny Deol, you might want to extend the support to his son, Karan. The movie is a no-brainer and offers 90s-style love story. Decent music, brilliant cinematography might entertain you.