Film preview

In ‘Phillauri’, a ghost bride, an unwilling groom, and a movie years in the making

The romantic comedy, starring Suraj Sharma, Anushka Sharma and Diljit Dosanjh, marks Anshai Lal’s debut.

A young man who is married to a tree to ward off a supposed curse gets more than he bargained for when the ghost who lives on the tree shows up at his home. The trailer of Phillauri, an upcoming Hindi comedy starring Suraj Sharma, Anushka Sharma and Diljit Dosanjh, has raked up numerous online views. Directed by Anshai Lal, Phillauri has been co-produced by Clean Slate Films, the company run by Anushka Sharma and her brother Karnesh, and Fox Star Studios. The March 24 release has been in the making for three years, Lal, a first-time director and former model told in an interview.

Going by the trailer, Phillauri is a comedy with shades of magic realism – but hold off on the genre classification. “I genuinely don’t know how to slot the film, because we don’t have a reference point for it,” Lal said. The movie will eventually be slotted as a supernatural film – a category that has been a challenging space to crack for Indian filmmakers, but Lal is confident that audiences will look beyond the ghost story angle.

“Honestly, I don’t know what a gamble is,” he said. “There are great scripts that need to be made. Will they do well or not is another issue altogether. You write something, you back it and make it with utmost conviction. That is all you can do.”


The 32-year-old director discussed the concept in 2009 with Karnesh Sharma, but both got busy with their individual projects. A few years later, they revisited the idea and ran it by Anushka Sharma. “I wrote a two-pager, Anushka liked it and got on board,” Lal said. “After that it took us two years – one-and-a-half years of writing and then six months of pre-production to get started. It was a slightly difficult film to write because it was technically challenging as well.”

Was the two-year wait challenging for the first-time director? “Writing is fun; you are also desperate to make your film at the same time,” Lal said. “We held on to the motto of ‘let’s get it right’, which was the right call to take. It was slow but we are happy with the end result.”

Lal’s foray into filmmaking was a happy accident. He was a ramp and print model during his college days, but rather than following up modelling with acting, Lal chose to move to Mumbai to direct commercials and work in the movie industry.

Anushka Sharma in Phillauri.
Anushka Sharma in Phillauri.

After assisting on the films Pyaar Ke Side Effects, Chak De! India and Dostana, Lal took the plunge with Phillauri, which has been written by Anvita Dutt. While Anushka Sharma was on board from the start – the character was written with her in mind – the other actors were enlisted gradually. Lal had admired Suraj Sharma’s work in the American television series Homeland, and the 23-year-old actor, who made his debut in Ang Lee’s Life of Pi in 2012, was the next addition to the cast.

“The only apprehension was that we hadn’t seen him speak Hindi,” Lal said. “The film is set in Punjab and that needed fluidity. Once we met Suraj and realised he is a Delhi boy like me, we hit it off.”

The character of the ghost’s lover is played by Punjabi star Diljit Dosanjh, who made his Hindi debut in Udta Punjab in 2016. “We met Diljiit at short notice, he gave us a nod in five hours and it was on,” Lal said.

All three actors are from dissimilar backgrounds and work experience – and their professional methods are different as well. “Anushka works really hard on the script, she does workshops before going into a film,” Lal revealed. “Suraj is similar to Anushka. Diljit is a spontaneous actor, he doesn’t believe in workshops. We did one reading with Diljit and we knew where he was headed. What he does on the set, he doesn’t do before or after.”

Phillauri is currently in its final stage of post production. The finishing touches are being given to the visual effects in the scenes involving Anushka Sharma’s character. Lal said he is too busy to be anxious about the film’s fate. “I’m going to be very nervous once the work is done, but right now we are set on finishing it well,” he said.

Anshai Lal.
Anshai Lal.
We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

Advice from an ex-robber on how to keep your home safe

Tips on a more hands-on approach of keeping your house secure.

Home, a space that is entirely ours, holds together our entire world. Where our children grow-up, parents grow old and we collect a lifetime of memories, home is a feeling as much as it’s a place. So, what do you do when your home is eyed by miscreants who prowl the neighbourhood night and day, plotting to break in? Here are a few pre-emptive measures you can take to make your home safe from burglars:

1. Get inside the mind of a burglar

Before I break the lock of a home, first I bolt the doors of the neighbouring homes. So that, even if someone hears some noise, they can’t come to help.

— Som Pashar, committed nearly 100 robberies.

Burglars study the neighbourhood to keep a check on the ins and outs of residents and target homes that can be easily accessed. Understanding how the mind of a burglar works might give insights that can be used to ward off such danger. For instance, burglars judge a house by its front doors. A house with a sturdy door, secured by an alarm system or an intimidating lock, doesn’t end up on the burglar’s target list. Upgrade the locks on your doors to the latest technology to leave a strong impression.

Here are the videos of 3 reformed robbers talking about their modus operandi and what discouraged them from robbing a house, to give you some ideas on reinforcing your home.


2. Survey your house from inside out to scout out weaknesses

Whether it’s a dodgy back door, a misaligned window in your parent’s room or the easily accessible balcony of your kid’s room, identify signs of weakness in your home and fix them. Any sign of neglect can give burglars the idea that the house can be easily robbed because of lax internal security.

3. Think like Kevin McCallister from Home Alone

You don’t need to plant intricate booby traps like the ones in the Home Alone movies, but try to stay one step ahead of thieves. Keep your car keys on your bed-stand in the night so that you can activate the car alarm in case of unwanted visitors. When out on a vacation, convince the burglars that the house is not empty by using smart light bulbs that can be remotely controlled and switched on at night. Make sure that your newspapers don’t pile up in front of the main-door (a clear indication that the house is empty).

4. Protect your home from the outside

Collaborate with your neighbours to increase the lighting around your house and on the street – a well-lit neighbourhood makes it difficult for burglars to get-away, deterring them from targeting the area. Make sure that the police verification of your hired help is done and that he/she is trustworthy.

While many of us take home security for granted, it’s important to be proactive to eliminate even the slight chance of a robbery. As the above videos show, robbers come up with ingenious ways to break in to homes. So, take their advice and invest in a good set of locks to protect your doors. Godrej Locks offer a range of innovative locks that are un-pickable and un-duplicable. To secure your house, see here.

The article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Godrej Locks and not by the Scroll editorial team.