Just as it happens to the onset of the monsoon, the much-awaited release of the Pankaj Kapur film Mausam on 16 September 2011 was delayed by a week. Being a hard core Mausam Vaigyanik (retired), I made it a point to see it first-day-first-show and was ready to get drenched in an emotional downpour. It was only at the end of the movie that I realized that I need not have taken my umbrella.

The movie release had been preceded by a lot of media publicity and I was wondering what the story would be like. It began well in a village in Punjab, and showed promise, but it later turned out to be much more unpredictable than the weather. From Punjab, the Mausam story moved to Kashmir, to Ahmedabad, then to Scotland, and then back to these places via Switzerland. Of course, I should have known better about the global teleconnections of the Indian monsoon.

The film had just about everything: wedding festivity, Mozart concert, communal riot, Kargil war, air battle, faith healing, daring rescue, bicycle-train chase, shower bath, and what not. Well, everything except mausam. There were no breathtaking shots of the sky to show the changing seasons. There was no rhythm of the rain in the background. Most of the situations were just lukewarm and could not generate that biting cold or oppressive heat. The film had just one thunderstorm, that too quite non-violent. And there were only two sequences shot in rain, in which Sonam Kapoor makes promises to Shahid Kapoor, which had she kept, the story would have collapsed.

Similar to a monsoon marked by long dry spells and a few very short wet spells, Mausam is dominated far more by separation than by love. In Mausam the seasons do not change seamlessly as in real nature, but so abruptly that the viewers have to be repeatedly informed through sub-titles about the place and date of the situation. 

To be fair, the film does have its occasional artistic touches, some witty dialogues and a couple of catchy songs. But like a normal monsoon with rainfall on the negative side, the film fails to impress. Human life has its emotional counterparts of drought and flood, winter and summer, calm and storm, cloud and sunshine, but the film is unable to capture them with any intensity whatever. Mausam, to the film viewer, can just mean a season of disappointment.