There Is (Thankfully) More To Manmarziyaan Than Meets The Eye
Anurag Kashyap’s Manmarziyaan starring Taapsee Pannu (as Rumi), Vicky Kaushal (as Vicky) and Abhishek Bachchan (as Robbie), fails to live up to the expectations that it sowed. The script, written by Kanika Dhillon, tends to get sloppy. Post-intermission, you might feel you are watching some gaudily extended episode of a daily soap. The (unnecessary) 2.36 hours will give you lots of deju vu and ‘aree yaar’, simply because the reiterations work for the plot no more, nor for the characters. Not anymore.
The Playful Nostalgia Of Amritsar
Set in Amritsar, the red bricks and congested neighbourhoods would fondly remind you of Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi. And by this end of pluck and grab ritual, you would feel that there is more of Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi in this film than just the city. The electricity gets contiguous as we see high-spirited Rumi and Vicky, tumbling across terraces and buildings of the ‘mohallah’, and making love heedlessly. Everything looks like a sweet ‘rom-com’ in this film until of course, the question of marriage is planted by the girl’s family. Vicky needs to make a choice at this juncture and the fact that he won’t, sets the boulder rolling.
They Drone On And On…
What could have been accomplished with a humane touch is dragged unnecessarily after the climax. As a modern woman of the 21st century, struggling to come out of domestic shackles, Rumi is considerably indifferent and does very little. We see her tiptoeing around according to her impulses, or when hotheaded Vicky is not influencing her decisions. As two characters, they are extremely finicky and to some extent irresponsible. Robbie, who comes to Amritsar to find a match, does not mature much as a character. For most of the time, he just plays the second fiddle, a man hopelessly head over heels for her, not that one can find any explanation to this neurotic obsession. Rumi shuttles forth between one lodging to Vicky’s psychedelic, half illuminated love nest, and continues to do so for a better portion of the film until you are driven to the zenith of dizziness.
Bachchan As The Compassionate Husband
Bachchan’s Robbie points out that Vicky will never stand up for Rumi, and Rumi will not do the same for herself- perhaps it is because of their age or financial insecurity when compared to Robbie’s London tag. Bachchan, the broody tall NRI banker, has a certain shade of grey to his character; quite a relief from the violent outbursts of the other characters and this disparity certainly brings beautiful hue about it. He builds up a charming chemistry with Pannu, who wilfully participates to play the dormant victim in this duality until he realizes this snorefest has come way too far, he has lurched himself into an impasse and also the film has to end. At times, you cannot help but fail to separate Bachchan’s Robbie merging with Vanraj from Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, except you need to multiply its ending by 5.
Kashyap is quirky enough to place a pair of twin sisters in the film, who erupt into song and dance in numerous song sequences, perhaps this is a physical manifestation of characters’ inner dualism and indecisions. However, you would have lost much of your acumen by analysing Rumi and Vicky’s decisions or the lack of it by the time you register this. When Vicky finally takes a decision, it indicates more to the overtly possessive misogynistic lover in him rather than a conscious adult redeeming his career choices.
The Saving Grace Of The Film!
The saving grace of Manmarziyaan’s prolonged tantrums is perhaps the brilliant acting by Taapsee Pannu and Vicky Kaushal, the comedy and of course the brilliant cinematography!
Taapsee Pannu and Vicky Kaushal have a brilliant screen presence and the camera loves Pannu. The characters would have been a huge let-down had they not been infested with the terrific energy and candour. Honestly, such gimcracks of two grown up adults, maniacs if you will, could have been nothing short of a risky venture.
Comic relief comes in patches with Robbie’s brother, the genuinely clueless brother-in-law striving to establish some sort of meaning in the universe around him. The humour is generally based on sex, love, marriage, and the colloquial slangs of Amritsar.
Cinematography by Sylvester Fonseca has nonetheless populated the film with some rich visuals, the beauty reaches its peak when in a scene both Robbie and Rumi howls inebriated under the moon. The scene has a cathartic effect on both of them, after hours’ of uncomfortable silence and verbal violence.
Though the movie has its flaws, this weekend take a short break from the usual web series and let yourself get carried away by your heart’s Manmarziyaan!