In 1983, Dharmendra launched his older son Sunny in the love story BETAAB, which proved to be a huge success in all respects. 36 years later, life comes full circle as Sunny Deol now takes up on himself to launch his older son Karan Deol with PAL PAL DIL KE PAAS. Sunny is not just the producer – he also dons the director’s hat. The film has been in the making for a long time and has been shot in virgin locales of the Himalayas. So does history repeat with PAL PAL DIL KE PAAS and does it turn out to be a success? Or does it fail to touch the hearts of the viewers? Let’s analyse.
PAL PAL DIL KE PAAS is a love story set amidst the beauty of Himalayas and the ugly politics of Delhi. Karan Sehgal (Karan Deol) resides in Manali and is the owner of the very popular Camp Ujhi Dhaar. He lost his parents in an avalanche when he was 10 while they were on the hunt for the elusive snow leopard. The costliest trekking package offered by Camp Ujhi Dhaar is worth Rs. 5 lakhs and involves solo trekking with an expert. Vlogger Sahher Sethi (Sahher Bambba) from Delhi, who has just taken a break from her boyfriend Vinny (Aakash Ahuja), signs up for it as an excuse to escape from her nagging relatives who are to visit her house. The expenses are borne by her company for which she vlogs. Sahher is known for tarnishing the image of hotels and tour companies with her acidic vlogs and she’s all set to do the same with Camp Ujhi Dhaar too. She believes charging Rs. 5 lakhs is akin to a daylight robbery by the camp. Karan himself takes up the responsibility of taking Sahher for the 5-day trek. Initially, she detests Karan and says negative stuff about him in her daily vlogs. Karan, on the other hand, too doesn’t think too high of Sahher. But slowly, they fall for each other. Sahher changes her mind and realizes that the trek is the best thing that has happened to her. She returns to Delhi and continues to be in touch with Karan. She breaks up with Vinny, infuriating her. But he doesn’t show and pretends to be cool with her decision. Karan, unable to survive without her, reaches Delhi when she hints him that she misses him too. They profess their love for each other. Vinny decides to put a devious plan into motion to bring back Sahher in his life. He’s aided in this plan by his elder brother Sushant Narang (Aakash Dhar), who’s running for the elections and the son of Ratna Narang (Meghna Malik), who’s into politics since two decades. What happens next forms the rest of the film.
Jasvinder Singh Bath and Ravi Shankaran’s story is beaten to death and very ordinary. It’s shocking that a story like this was approved in today’s day and age. Jasvinder Singh Bath and Ravi Shankaran’s screenplay is also poor, especially in the second half. The first half is also nothing great but the mountaineering bit makes it watchable. Jasvinder Singh Bath and Ravi Shankaran’s dialogues are also nothing memorable at all.
Sunny Deol’s direction is simple and decent. He executes the mountaineering scenes very well in the first half. Also, he does justice to the visuals and locales at his disposal. Unfortunately, since the script itself is so weak and outdated, his execution fails to save the film. He tries to enhance the film’s appeal with action and even a sequence on the racing circuit. Then there’s a bizarre snow leopard sequence but it works as he directs it well. But these factors can’t be of much help when the script itself is not upto the mark.
PAL PAL DIL KE PAAS has a very poor commencement, showing Karan’s childhood and his present-day life. Sahher’s entry scene is also unconvincing and the attempt to be funny falls flat. The interest is set once the trek begins. The finest scene of the film is when Sahher faints due to altitude sickness and Karan puts her on his back and treks on a steep slope. The rest of the scenes are okay and the interest is maintained due to the locales and the trekking factor. The second half begins well with the ‘Dil Uda Patanga’ track. Things then go downhill as there’s no story as such in the second half. And whatever story is there is very clichéd and routine. Moreover, it’s very predictable. The action scene raises interest and individually, it works. But as part of the film, it won’t be lapped up by the audiences. The finale is very simplistic and unconvincing.
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Karan Deol puts a genuine effort but still, it falls short. He’s too raw and still needs guidance to become a fine actor. In the scene where he’s racing, he has a weird smile on his face and it takes away the impact. The attempt to roar like his father in the action scenes will work with the front benchers though. Sahher Bambba meanwhile does very well and has a wonderful screen presence. Aakash Ahuja is fine as the villain. Kamini Khanna (Sahher’s grandmother) is adorable and raises laughs in a funny scene. Meghna Malik leaves a huge mark. Aakash Dhar, Simone Singh (Sahher’s mother), Sachin Khedekar (Sahher’s father), Nupur Nagpal (Natasha), Vijayant Kohli (Kapil Gupta) and Kallirroi Tziafeta (Karan’s mother) are decent.
Music is okay but some of the songs are shot well. ‘Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas’ comes at a significant juncture. ‘Ho Jaa Awara’ is the best of the lot thanks to its picturisation. ‘Dil Uda Patanga’ comes next. ‘Aadha Bhi Zyaada’ fails to work due to Karan’s acting. ‘Ishaq Chaliya’ is forgettable. ‘Maa Ka Mann’ is very soulful but comes at a very unconvincing point in the movie. Raju Singh and Rishi Rich’s background score is quite exhilarating.
Himman Dhameja and Ragul Dharuman’s cinematography is spectacular. The locales of Himachal Pradesh are shot beautifully. The whole team deserves credit for shooting the film at locations that have been never before explored on celluloid. Not just the mountain scenes, even the second half is shot nicely. Resul Pookutty’s sound design adds to the effect. Amardeep Behl and Tina Dharamsey’s production design are appealing. Niharika Khan and Vishakha Kullarwar’s costumes are very glamorous, especially the ones worn by Sahher Bambba. Vikram Dahiya’s action is spot on. Prime Focus’s VFX is quite okay and could have been better in the snow leopard sequence. Devendra Murdeshwar’s editing could have been slicker, considering that the film is too long at 153 minutes.
On the whole, PAL PAL DIL KE PAAS has an outdated storyline, with just the mountain scenes and Sunny Deol’s direction saving the day to an extent. As a result, the film will have a very tough time at the box office.