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Saturday, February 24 2024

Manmarziyaan: A typical yet refreshingly modern love story

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manmarziyaan reviewRating: 3.5/5

Manmarziyaan” is a love story set in modern-day Punjab, and deals with the struggles of a modern day young couple. Gone are the days of Romeo and Juliet where the love story, though tumultuous, was pretty clean cut. “Manmarziyaan” revolves around a young girl who has to has to choose between her heart and her mind. Although we have seen this kind of story played out before us many times before and in many different ways, none have come close to the realness that this movie brings to the age-old formula of a love triangle.

Rumi (played by Taapsee Pannu), an orphan living with her aunt and her family, and Vicky (played by Vicky Kaushal) are lovebirds in a more or less secret love affair. When their affair is found out, however, Rumi is forced to make a choice to leave Vicky, a carefree struggling DJ, and marry Robbie Bhatia (Abhishek Bachchan), a successful banker working in London… in other words… a wealthy NRI… sound familiar? (hint: watch “Main Prem Ki Diwani Hoon“). Anyhow, this is where the story truly begins. What will Rumi decide? Who will she choose and what are the consequences of her choices? This is what the movie is truly about.

For the most part, “Manmarziyaan” is realistic, at least the first two out of the three acts. In the third act, the movie becomes the typical Bollywood drama with the typical ending… something I wish the movie had steered away from. Director Anurag Kashyap has made a brilliant movie with a brilliant story and a brilliant cast. One of the many things that stands out in the movie, and something that I personally liked, is the use of a pair of twins who seem to appear at crucial points in Rumi’s life. I may be wrong, but it seems like they are supposed to mirror the viewers’ thoughts. They are happy and dancing (some really cool fusion dance moves by the way) when we feel happy about Rumi’s life and they are cold and distant and almost judgemental when we are judging her decisions.

Another stand out is Taapsee Pannu. She is the embodiment of pure unbridled youthful energy, be it good or bad. Her acting is organic and believable… for the most part. One of my major gripes about the movie is that there are some scenarios, especially where Taapsee is with Abhishek Bachchan, when she behaves in a certain way that makes you go, “Yeah, no one in real life will act that way”, and that’s where the problem in the movie begins. Sure it can’t be easy to get over someone you have loved for a long time and get married to someone else, but the way she behaves with/treats Abhishek is downright unrealistic and really pulls you out of the movie. I also wouldn’t suggest taking Rumi as a role model as she flips and flops a lot with regard to her decisions and willingly gets strung along like a puppy.

Another gripe I have with the movie is that the major conflict in the movie seems manufactured because it actually is. The conflict could have been avoided if the movie stuck to being realistic, but the characters willingly put themselves in that situation and then lash out at others in the ensuing mayhem.

The movie is somewhat of a romantic comedy but is not heavy on the comedy, which is a good thing. The comedic timing is good and gels well with the story and is very organic. The flow of the movie was also well paced and felt natural.

Taapsee Pannu and Vicky Kaushal have some really good chemistry as a love-struck couple. They are each other’s reason to live and cause of destruction. A perfect example of “all that glitters isn’t gold”. Kaushal is amazing in his role. He is over the top (in a natural way) and grounded in reality at the same time. Tapsee’s and Kaushal’s characters were not cheesy in the least bit. Abhishek’s character, on the other hand, could have used a little more flavour. Robbie was bland for the most part. He did not react to certain situations like a normal human would. His character was a little too good to be true. Honestly, his character felt real and human only towards the end when he loses his composure and shows some emotions. There didn’t seem to be much chemistry between Taapsee’s and Abhishek’s characters either. The supporting characters are ones to look out for because some of them, especially Rumi’s cousin sister and Robbie’s brother, were extremely good.

While the ending of the movie was predictable and so typically Bollywood, the movie had a good story with good acting, beautiful cinematography and music.

Manmarziyaan” gives us a glimpse of what real relationships can be like and how people, though victims of their circumstances, can break the cycle of misery by making a choice and sticking by them. It’s entertaining, warm and humorous. Definitely worth a watch with friends and family.

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Andrea Noronha

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