Two observations before I 'dissect' Teree Sang...
- One, it's often said that veterans find it extremely difficult to change with times, adapt to new-age cinema.
- Two, it's often said that a capable director has the potential to unearth new talent and polish their skills.
The two observations hold true for Satish Kaushik, who's known for dramatic/masala entertainers and who changes gears so swiftly with Teree Sang.
Now let's begin... First and foremost, Teree Sang is not Juno. The resemblance starts and ends with an adolescent getting pregnant. Teree Sang is not Kya Kehna either. Teree Sang mirrors what's happening in society vividly. But, at the same time, it's not dark or disturbing, nor does it get preachy. But there're minor issues. Certain portions make this real story look filmy and that robs the film of its freshness. It becomes another BOBBY and LOVE STORY at one point. More on that later! Yet, all said and done, Teree Sang is fresh and engrossing in most parts. Recommended!
Maahi [Sheena Shahabadi], the only child of the Puri family [Rajat Kapoor, Neena Gupta], is a bubbly 15-year-old Delhi girl. She belongs to a prosperous family and has the best of material comforts. Kabir [Ruslaan Mumtaz], a 17-year-old, has a middle class background [Satish Kaushik, Sushmita Mukherjee Bundela].
Maahi and Kabir become friends. On a camping trip on New Year's Eve, after getting a little tipsy, the young couple get intimate. Soon, Maahi gets pregnant. What follows is a journey of accepting one's mistakes and owning up to it.
Satish Kaushik steps into a new territory with Teree Sang and throws a pleasant surprise at viewers. The entire first half is so real, so identifiable and the execution of the subject is so interesting that you get instantly drawn into Kabir and Maahi's worlds. The passionate kiss that they share, which leads to a sexual encounter, is also maturely depicted on screen by the director.
But it's the second hour that's problematic. It becomes yet another version of BOBBY and LOVE STORY, with the kids eloping and the warring parents thirsting for each other's blood. These portions don't appeal primarily because too much seems to happen too soon. A roof over the head, a spacious mansion with all amenities and necessities in place, an instant job et al... all this in a matter of a few days in a new township seems so unreal.
Thankfully, the film comes on track in the penultimate portions. The moment the girl calls up her father and set things straight - from this point onwards, Teree Sang is back on its feet. Of course, the courtroom drama could've been far more impactful.
Despite the blemishes in its writing, there's no denying that Teree Sang is easily amongst Satish Kaushik's most accomplished works. Sachin-Jigar's music has that freshness that this subject demands and at least two songs deserve a strong mention, especially 'More Saiyyan'. The camerawork is vibrant at places.
Ruslaan underplays his part beautifully. The best part is, it's not one of those conventional roles that show the hero flexing his muscles or beating up 10 people at the same time. He enacts the boy next door part with complete understanding. Sheena is a surprise. Dew-fresh and adorable, the debutante looks perfect for the part. Her confidence and performance, both are wonderful.
Rajat Kapoor is excellent. Neena Gupta is natural. Satish Kaushik delivers a winning performance. The viewers will love him. Sushmita Mukherjee Bundela is first-rate. Anupam Kher, in a brief role, is perfect.
On the whole, Teree Sang has a new story tell and that is its biggest USP. At the box-office, the film may be a slow starter, but has the merits to pick up with word of mouth if the youth as also the family audiences take to it.