Men are from Mars and women are from Venus, but the characters in director Punit Malhotra’s Gori Tere Pyaar Mein are so flat-out uninteresting, you have to wonder if they’re from another galaxy altogether. Sriram (Imran Khan) is a rudderless Bangalore brat who’ll skip his aunt’s funeral to continue partying with his friends. Diya (Kareena Kapoor) is the kind of social activist that can exist only in a Karan Johar film, one who backs a new cause every day. Opposites attract, but it’s hard to figure out what draws this pair to each other. Then snotty Sriram’s love is tested when he follows Diya to a remote village in Gujarat, and volunteers to build a bridge that will help the lives of the locals.

You expect rom-coms to be frothy, escapist fluff, but Gori Teri Pyaar Mein specializes in a brand of emptiness that struggles to hold your attention. In one scene, Diya tells Sriram, “Don’t be so shallow” and that sentiment sums up this film in a nutshell. Sriram is a Tamil Brahmin boy and Diya, a Punjabi, so there are plenty stereotypes and even the classic dialogue, “Idli sirf sambhar ke saath acchi lagti hain, chholey ke saath nahin.” You can’t fathom what Diya sees in Sriram – on the very day they first meet, he suggests they have a quickie on the side, offering to cheat on his steady girlfriend.
 
Yet the larger problem here is that this rom-com doesn’t have the crackle and pop of an original romance, or even cleverly written comic lines. The first half has stray funny moments in the cultural stereotyping of Tamil weddings, when Sriram is set to marry the radiant Shraddha Kapoor in a special appearance. But the film sinks into a slush of melodrama and hammy acting in its second half, when Sriram locks horns with Anupam Kher, who offers an over-the-top performance as the scheming village collector determined to foil their bridge-building plan.
 
Malhotra gives us barely any genuine moments between Sriram and Diya. In fact, the writing is so trite that Diya offers to dye her gray strands as a “return gift” for Sriram committing to her cause. Perhaps to shake off that chocolate boy image, the film devotes ample screen time to Imran Khan’s chest hair, while the actor for the most part, although earnest, is left striking filmi poses, unable to inspire much affection for his singularly self-absorbed character. Kareena Kapoor, sincere despite the surface-level depth of her character, is completely wasted in the film. It’s a shame Imran shares more passion with Esha Gupta in a blink-and-miss song appearance than he does with his leading lady.
 
We’d have cared more about this mismatched couple had the makers invested in a sharper script. I’m going with a generous two out of five for Gori Tere Pyaar Mein. It’s as enjoyable as drinking a cup of tea that’s been left out in the cold.

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