Gehraiyaan is by all means the biggest OTT release of 2022. The film was originally meant for theatrical release but the pandemic situation meant that it saw straight-to-digital arrival. After watching the film, I believe it could well have taken a theatrical route first and it could still have done well in the major cities at least.
Released on Amazon Prime, it was hyped well by Dharma Productions. That’s one of the key aspect of films coming from the house of Karan Johar, as seen earlier in case of Shershaah, Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl and Meenakshi Sundareshwar as well. The films are not just given a vanilla release on the digital medium, they are in fact promoted as well as any theatrical outing, and it is this very factor that helps fetch them good eyeballs on the OTT channels as well.
Moreover, the content of the film has helped the cause as well. A complex drama featuring Deepika Padukone, Siddhanth Chaturvedi, Ananya Pandey and Dhairya Karwa that has been helmed quite competently by director Shakun Batra [Kapoor & Sons], Gehraiyaan’s core strength lies in the fact that it is totally unpredictable. Just when one thought that the film is going on an expected lines for the first 45 minutes, as evident from the promo, there are multiple twists that come in which end up taking a relentless pace, especially in the second half.
Deepika Padukone totally gets her part right and good to see how she handles it all with so much grace while playing it gracefully. She doesn’t come up with a single false note and does something that she has never done before. This is an award winning act from her. On the other hand Siddhanth Chaturvedi comes up with his career best act. He has a very difficult part where he walks on the edge and he gets it right as the man who is stuck from all ends. At places, he even reminds of Shahid Kapoor. Good decision to cast him in this unpredictable part.
Ananya Pandey has been picking her parts well by stepping into different characters and playing Ms. Richie Rich comes naturally to her here. She has an important part and as a girl who does have sense of right and wrong, she brings on the sweet-n-innocence factor. As for new find Dhairya Karwa, he has a limited part to play and does well for his debut film. As a man with a wry sense of humor and on the borderline of being self depreciating, he too stays in a non-filmy zone. He has lesser screen time than the rest but does contribute when he is around.
As the title conveys, the drama is indeed ‘deep rooted’ here as Shakun Batra tells a tale that goes far beyond intimacy. Unpredictable and absolutely original, there is a lot packed in those 130 minutes with surprising twists-n-turns. The film has a completely original storyline and with every character bringing in so much into the play, this could well have been a web series. It’s a simmering affair that takes 15 minutes to set the mood and post that there is no return. Wish the film was even longer.