Banners: Sunny Super Sounds, Zee Studios, Vijayta Films

Producers: Zee Studios, Sunny Sounds Pvt Ltd

Director: Sunny Deol

Cast: Karan Deol, Sahher Bambba, Aakash Ahuja, Kamini Khanna, Simone Singh, Sachin Khedekar, Meghna Malik

Writers: Jasvinder Singh Bhat, Ravi Shankar (Story, Screenplay & Dialogues)

Music: Sachet-Parampara, Rishi Rich, Tanishk Bagchi

A simple and shy boy. A rich and arrogant girl. They meet. Their personalities clash. But eventually, sparks fly. Enters the unscrupulous villain. Gory fights follow. The simple and shy boy suddenly turns violent and brawny. Hero beats villain and emerges victorious. Boy and girl reunite. A happy ending. This must be reminding you of the scores of Hindi films you grew up watching. Sunny Deol’s Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas, whose title is drawn from the evergreen love ballad in Blackmail featuring Dharmendra and Raakhee, is no different. The film takes you on a ride where you keep wondering if the plot screams classic or cliché as you journey through the highs and lows that the narrative offers.

Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas is the love story of two completely opposite individuals, Karan Sehgal and Saher Sethi. We are taken back in time and introduced to Karan, a young boy whose parents die in an avalanche in a bid to see a snow leopard. Karan grows up to become an entrepreneur who organises camps and treks in the pristine snow-covered mountains of Manali. In one such camp called Camp Ujhi Dhaar, he meets Saher, a rich brat from Delhi who is a video blogger and critic who reviews trips and tour packages. It takes them a while to break the ice and eventually they are seen having the time of their lives doing rappelling, river crossing and canyoning. But our rose-tinted glasses are tainted when Saher’s ex-boyfriend is thrown into the mix. Thereafter everything that can go wrong in their lives does.

Brownie points to cinematographers Himman Dhamija and Ragul Dharuman for capturing the snow-capped altitudes of Manali, the crystal clear turbulent waters, the lush green valleys and marvellous penitentes. They are such visual delights! They will nudge you to a world away from the rut of everyday life and will perfectly satiate the wanderlust in you. The recce team also deserves a special mention for discovering such gorgeous locales.

The story and screenplay by Jasvinder Singh Bhat and Ravi Shankar lack novelty and brings nothing new to the table. The emotionally intense scenes fail to tug at the heartstrings. A pinch of freshness in the writing could have lifted the film several notches high. The treatment adds quite an appeal to the otherwise run-of-the-mill plotline as the film is high on aesthetic value.

Music is ironically not a strong link in Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas. There is barely any song that will stay with you. Ho jaa awara and Dil uda patanga, however, manage to engage you because they are in tandem with the essence of the situation that the characters are in. And anyway, what is a Bollywood love story without a song? The track Aadha bhi zyaada that introduces us to Karan’s character is an add-on and could have been done away with. But yes, there’s a rendition of Pal pal dil ke paas from Blackmail in the film but there’s nothing like old wine.

The VFX is uninspiring. The shabby superimposition of a snow leopard in a snow-covered hilly region is a major loophole. The film is 153 minutes long but it manages to keep you to your seats. While the first is all rainbows and unicorns, it is the second where things start getting a little serious or so they thought. The writing and editing may be extremely predictable but it the earnestness with which the film is made that prevents you from getting restless.

You can give Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas a shot! We can assure you that you will not regret it. Give it some time and it will settle. It has romance, action, drama and everything else that defines quintessential Bollywood films. And who wouldn’t want to get a glimpse into the beautiful Manali up and close and see our one of favourite action star, Sunny paaji’s son, fighting it out against a group of bad boys!

Performance-wise, Karan Deol as Karan seems a little uncomfortable in the beginning. He is not convincing in the scenes involving subtle emotions and romance. Towards the end of the second half when he is seen indulging in hand combats and taking down a group of goons he shines. Legacy speaks and how! Sahher Bambba as Saher understands the pulse of her character and has good screen presence. She plays her part diligently. Their chemistry is decent. Aakash Ahuja as Viren is average. Kamini Khanna, Simone Singh and Sachin Khedekar are good. Meghna Malik does a great job.

Verdict: Worth a dekho

Stars: **1/2