Cast: Shahid Kapoor, Sonam Kapoor, Anupam Kher, Supriya Pathak, Aditi Sharma
Harinder Singh aka Harry ( Shahid Kapoor), whiles away his time in his native village, waiting for the letter to join the Indian Air Force. But before the letter arrives, he falls in love with Aayat ( Sonam Kapoor), the displaced Kashmiri girl who lands up in the village when Kashmir falls prey to insurgency. However, the ill-fated romance gets disrupted by the political events like the Ayodhya dispute, the Mumbai bomb blasts, the Kargil war, the Gujarat riots.... The world simmers, violence spreads, but love never dies as Harry and Aayat keep hoping for a re-union, despite the passing years and the turbulent landscape
Mausam begins on a beautiful note. Loads of atmospherics, mood, sentiment and stunning visuals of a sleepy rural backdrop, captured in arresting mode by cinematographer Binod Pradhan make you sit back determined for an artistic tryst with cinema. Sonam's shy femininity as the anguished Kashmir migrant, trapped in alien terrain and Shahid Kapoor's boyish buoyancy add a spark to the proceedings as does their old-fashioned style of romance.
Yes, the allure of the first half of the film lies in the vintage love story which proceeds through unsaid words, unexpressed feelings, stolen glances and lots of melody (Pritam Singh). The affair which begins in 1992, before the demolition of the Babri mosque has an oriental charm to it and makes for some moments of great viewing. It's not only Shahid and Sonam, but the entire ensemble cast comprising the villagers that lend a spontaneity to the proceedings. The demolition of the mosque and the political turmoil that ensues puts a brake on the tender banter and causes the lovers to separate. Aayat leaves for Mumbai and Shahid joins the Air Force.
And it's here that director Pankaj Kapur seems to lose his grip, at least partially, on the story which crosses continents and slips on the natural charm and high emotional quotient that made the first half eminently watchable. The lovers meet again in Scotland, but a Mozart concert can never really compensate for the rustic splendour of misty greens, mustard fields and rain drenched terraces. Too many comings and goings, meetings and separations, missed calls and opportunities, spurred on by the cataclysmic political events of the nation, tire you with their repetition, even as the evolution of Sonam into a style diva robs her off her native innocence. Shahid's daredevil Air Force pilot too loses a bit of depth as he battles too many odds: an unfulfilled romance, enemy bunkers on Tiger Hill and a debilitating battle injury. Cut to the climax -- the lovers trapped on a burning street during the Gujarat carnage -- and things slip completely out of hand.... Too bizarre, too unnecessary, bordering on the ludicrous.
Don't be dissuaded however, for Mausam has lots to offer to the viewer who doesn't mind his cinema languorous, laid back and moody, with loads of beauty.