In the opening sequence, we see a whacky dude hopping over terraces in the narrow lanes of Amritsar. He is welcomed by a girl with a wild hug filled with passion. All the prying eyes and the girl’s sister be damned, these two passionate lovers care little about the world and do their ‘Man Marziyaan’! Director Anurag Kashyap and his writer Kanika Dhillon set the mood and theme of this messy, yet beautiful love triangle right here for their audience.
Sort of similar to the premise of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Manmarziyaan is a complicated love story of a bratty, live-wire, former hockey player, Rumi (Taapsee Pannu) who is madly in love with an eccentric, carefree, wannabe Yo-Yo Honey Singh, Vicky AKA DJ Sandz (Vicky Kaushal). Owing to family pressures, Rumi wants Vicky to marry her, but a non-committal and irresponsible Vicky isn’t too sure. This is where enters a subdued and sensible London-based banker, Robbie (Abhishek Bachchan). And then begins the chaotic journey of love and commitment, in the fast-paced times of Tinder and emotional discord. Kanika Dhillon, with her chaste Punjabi laden dialogues and crisp screenplay, creates a genuine canvas, where the characters seem real and draw your empathy and hatred, both in equal measure.
Apart from the writing and dialogues, two of the major pillars of this movie are its beautiful cinematography by Sylvester Fonseca and the superb soundtrack by Amit Trivedi. The camera impeccably captures Amritsar, its narrow by-lanes and the characters navigating through it. It is such a welcome change to watch an Anurag Kashyap movie, without the usual gore and darkness. The music adds another dimension to the narrative and takes the story forward. All the songs have a distinct flavor and blend well with the narrative. Anurag Kashyap’s movies are always related with dark and rustic stories of the heartland. And his attempt to move from the gangster genre to romance seems to have worked! But, the movie is not without its negatives. The tempo and pace of the movie seem disjointed – the first half is wild and fast, while the second half is much somber and mellow – almost feeling like two different movies. Also, with 14 songs, the movie sometimes feels a bit stretched, though Kashyap has used less than a minute of some of the songs in the movie.
Manmarziyaan, apart from being strong in its technical aspects, also has terrific performances by its leads, especially Vicky Kaushal and Taapsee Pannu. The third wheel in the love story, Abhishek Bachchan, is the most likeable and endearing of all the three characters. His empathy towards his heart-broken wife and bonding with her over Patiala pegs, makes you instantly vibe with him. He is restrained, has no fake masculinity and uses his charming persona to make you overlook his inconsistent Punjabi accent. Also, we have seen Abhishek play such nuanced subtle characters well in the past as well, so this does not come as a surprise. The surprises here are Vicky Kaushal and Taapsee Pannu. From being a non-performer in her early days in regional movies like Mr. Perfect in Telugu, to delivering such a power-packed performance here, she has evolved and how! Playing the unapologetic, strong-willed Sikhni, she is wonderful. She beautifully conveys the confusion of a millennial torn between a non-committal lover and a pure-souled husband. You empathize with her and detest her in the same breath, but she leaves an impact. Leaving yet another impactful performance after Sanju is Vicky Kaushal. Is there anything this man cannot do? As the neon colored, wild and weird DJ Sandz, he gets the most scope in terms of displaying a variety of emotions and he delivers them with a bang! He is crazy, stupid, lovelorn and yet, emotionally pitiable. It’s only because of Vicky’s brilliant performance that the least likeable character of the three, becomes the most memorable one! The rest of the cast forming Rumi and Robbie’s family support the story well, sans the cliched melodrama.
In today’s times when the lines between love and lust are blurred, Manmarziyaan stays relevant to its theme. Love, in reality, is never simple. It is chaotic, confusing and complicated. Presenting such a complicated story is no easy job and so the inconsistencies can be overlooked. With Abhishek Bachchan 2.0, let us welcome Anurag Kashyap 2.0 as well!
My Rating – 3.5/5