A while ago, I posed a question on Twitter and Facebook, asking people what their expectations were from PATIALA HOUSE. The reaction ranged from encouraging and affirmative to unenthusiastic and unexciting. A wide number of caustic and scathing comments were a consequence of Akshay Kumar's last year's releases, namely KHATTA MEETHA, ACTION REPLAYY and TEES MAAR KHAN. Also, a few called it similar to DE DHANA DHAN GOAL, while some even compared it with NAMASTEY LONDON.
In fact, a lot many factors go against PATIALA HOUSE. Director Nikihil Advani and Akshay's last outing together, the infamous CHANDNI CHOWK TO CHINA, remains a favorite punching bag to this day. Besides, PATIALA HOUSE comes at a time when people have had an overdose of Akshay starrers. I reiterate, there ought to be at least six months' gap between two films of a major star, while this is Akshay's fourth release in six months [KHATTA MEETHA - 23 July, ACTION REPLAYY - 5 November and TEES MAAR KHAN - 24 December]. Moreover, the film opens exactly one week before the keenly anticipated World Cup cricket matches and coupled with that, it will have no breathing space as the very next week witnesses the release of another much-awaited film 7 KHOON MAAF. Expecting PATIALA HOUSE to overcome these hurdles is tough, mainly when the chips are down!
The chips are down also because people assume PATIALA HOUSE to be something which it is not. Let me clarify that PATIALA HOUSE is not an 'extension' of Akshay's previous films. Sure, PATIALA HOUSE has its share of humorous moments, but the humor is of the subtle kind here. Nor can one compare it to NAMASTEY LONDON, since that film was more of a love story between a British-born Indian and a desi Indian, while PATIALA HOUSE is more of an inspirational film. It's about chasing your dreams as and when you get another opportunity, if you don't succeed the first time.
Essentially, PATIALA HOUSE is a somber film, with the focal point being drama and histrionics rather than the slapstick wit or in-your-face comedy that one anticipates from an Akshay starrer. It's more about familial bonding, with a sport [cricket] interwoven in the screenplay. This one doesn't tickle your funny bone; instead it moistens your eyes thanks to the poignant moments in the narrative, especially the penultimate moments of the film. Those exhausted of watching Akshay getting typecast in similar genre films will drop the charges while watching this one. This is, without a shred of doubt, amongst Akshay's finest performances.