Published On : Sat, Sep 15th, 2018

Manmarziyaan Movie Review

Anurag Kashyap gave Bollywood one of its best stories of love and lost love in Dev D. He lent the classic love triangle his own twist and Dev D developed a cult following. His last film too was a love story with the backdrop of boxing, Mukkabaaz.

With the Kashyap signature, conventional love stories become memorable.

So when Anurag Kashyap returns with another love triangle in Manmarziyaan, comparisons with Dev D are inevitable. He dedicates his newest film to Amrita Pritam, the precocious poet who herself is known for her unconventional, trailblazing love story.

Manmarziyaan is set in small-town Amritsar where Vicky loves Rumi loves Robbie. The who loves whom equation is fluid here, with Taapsee playing the erratic and moody Rumi – the pivot of this tale who oscillates between the two. Rumi symbolises manmarziyaan. ‘Mann’ and ‘marzi’ form ‘manmarziyaan’. Do what your heart says. Kashyap’s heroine does exactly that, and leaves a trail of destruction and heartbreak behind.

Hockey-player Rumi ‘manipulates’ her family for her own gain. She is unapologetic about it. She smokes, chugs drinks and has sex like there’s no tomorrow. Her partner in crime is the local guy with tattoos and piercings; the entire f**kboi package, Vicky (Vicky Kaushal in terrific form). Enter goodboi Robbie (Abhishek Bachchan in a passable comeback) who doesn’t talk much but doesn’t let that keep him from fighting against all odds to acquire the woman he likes.

Rumi and Vicky love each other. But Vicky is commitment-phobic. Rumi waits for him right till the end of time but stops short. She turns back and takes her own decision. “Rumi khud gayi thi,” she scribbles in rage for Vicky to tell him that she left him and not the other way round. But ishq da rang hai grey wala shade. Kashyap tells us what comprises the grey. Not convincingly.

The film, much like its lead heroine, suffers from a curious case of being too dependent on its director’s manmarziyaan. Kashyap picks up elements from Dev D and strews them here and there in Manmarziyaan. The teenmurti from Dev D become the twins in Manmarziyaan. A heartbroken person walks into a bar as the twins shake their head in pity while a heavy number plays in the background. We have seen these before.

Manmarziyaan is fabulous in its first half. There are little moments that warm your heart. Rumi lights up the screen with her energy. Rumi brands herself on to the viewer. Vicky Kaushal roars and proves yet again why he is one of the best we have in Bollywood today. The frames with Taapsee and Vicky are ones to cherish.

Among the three leads, Abhishek Bachchan is weak. He impresses but not quite. He is brooding and silent most of the time and you are expected to expect a storm whenever he speaks. When the crescendo finally reaches its climax, Junior Bachchan does a poor impression of the Angry Young Man.

There is more of Abhishek in the second half, and the film loses steam post interval, largely because of the silences and the patchy writing by Kanika Dhillon. We are left to deal with the whims of Rumi and by now, we’ve seen way too much of them. You feel restless. You want the explosion to happen just so you can leave. But all we get is a whimper.

The film benefits from Amit Trivedi’s fabulous soundtrack. Songs like Daryaa and Halla stay with you after you leave the theatre. Rumi and Vicky stay with you after the end credits roll. But Manmarziyaan lets you go with the feeling that you’ve just seen Dev D from a Paro’s point of view. Except, a mediocre version.

Three stars for Manmarziyaan.