Pyaar, Fyaar, Takraar, Inkaar, Ikraar, this pyar ka bukhar by Anurag Kashyap - the erstwhile branded ‘radical’ the worshipper of darkness, the pujari who offered the rural exotica from the Hindi heartland of U.P. and Bihar as his tribute to the god called cinema, this time gets smitten by realties, complexities, anxieties and pleasures of love in this true, real and everlasting love story in MANMARZIYAAN – yeh aaj ki love story hai sanam.
MANMARZIYAAN is all about heart, surprisingly Anurag Kashyap has not written this and narrated what Kanika Dhillon has written, the story explores all shades of love and relationships, it’s volatile, passionate, flawed, jealous, endearing and sacrificing all in one.
Set in Amritsar, Punjab, the movie begins with funky Vicky aka DJ Sand (Vicky Kaushal) jumping from one terrace to another to meet the fierce and spirited Rumi (Tapsee Pannu), the peppy Grey Walaa Shade plays in the backdrop. The love of Vicky and Rumi is controlled by their hormones and it’s uncontrollable. Vicky a struggling musician is suffering from commitment phobia, the volatile love story of Vicky and Rumi is getting famous day by day and pressure is mounting on Rumi to get settled. Vicky is against getting ‘caged’, they even elope but Vicky’s lack of commitment and no guarantee of any future makes Rumi furious mid way but still she couldn’t control herself when Vicky tries to cover his lacking by raising her hormones. The traditional will within Rumi for a ‘roka’ (engagement) with Vicky so that they can move freely gets postpone by the sudden impulse triggered by Vicky. The set up, build up and the proceedings are so brilliantly presented that irrespective of your views on the issue, you are hooked and you feel for both Vicky and Rumi.
On the other hand, another definition of love is getting essayed by Robbie (Abhishek Bachchan) the ideal son, the 'Husband Material’ (The English title for this flick), a banker in U.K. Robbie is on a hunt for his life partner in Amritsar and obviously Robbie get smitten by the charm of Rumi. Vicky’s inability to stand for himself and his love of life Rumi leads to the marriage of Rumi with Robbie. Robbie is aware of Rumi’s involvement with Vicky but enters the competition hoping to get his fair chance. Sensitive people like Robbie are rare in today’s times but here the characterization is pitch perfect to establish the contrast and the difference between lust and love, passion and commitment. Slowly, day after day Robbie and Rumi start negotiating with each other and start finding the companionship they were looking for but one day, Robbie finds out something and his world goes upside down.
This Anurag Kashyap style update on old fashioned love stories does wink and tease at clichés and predictability. HUM DIL DE CHUKE SANAM (the good husband with a heart of a saint giving his newly married wife an option to get back to her lover), RAB NE BANA DI JODI (the common belief that street smart, funky bad boys are cool), the applam chapplam movements (twin sisters used as simile – the audience inside the theatres and the world inside the frame, it can be Rumi as well) but Anurag Kashyap and Kanika Dhillon give it a recurring twist that makes the difference. The erstwhile termed radical Anurag Kashyap silences his critics by not using abusive language in this film. The narrative which begins on a crackling note, finds masterly crafted moments like the suhaag raat sequence where Rumi is gazing the tv watching the mating between monkeys with no emotion speaks volumes, the reference of tinder and the fact that Rumi confesses in deleting her tinder app soon after finding Vicky speaks about the undercurrent of traditional beliefs in Rumi who believes she has found her ideal partner in Vicky. In the midst of wild, crazy madness between Rumi and Vicky there is an undercurrent of eternal loyalty that strikes the chord. The friend request send in Kashmir and later during the climax has deep layers in portraying how technology has influenced our closeness and created distance in our relationships.
MANMARZIYAAN would have been impossible without the actors and its music. First coming to its lead actors, Taapsee Pannu is all fire, in one word infectious. Vicky Kaushal is in top gear, an absolute delight where he fulfills every demands of his character, the attitude, the body language, the exuberance, the childlike innocence and those expressions when Rumi shows him his place in the world. Sheer brilliance.
Abhishek Bachchan as Robbie is the one that on surface may be the SRK of RAB NE BANA DI JODI, Ajay Devgn in HUM DIL DE CHUKE SANAM, but he has elements of grey, he is a measured player if we look closely, an investment banker who searches for options and looks for returns. He even mentions it in one scene when he says Vicky might be Rumi’s first love but nothing can stop me from being the next best option. Robbie is aware of Vicky’s weaknesses and his strength. He is confident that his calm will win over the impulsive nature of Vicky, there is an angst hidden somewhere which comes out one day leading to a unique twist and turn in the narrative that stamps this movie into real, everlasting love story. After GURU, Abhishek Bachchan gives his career best in MANMARZIYAAN.
Now the music, Amit Trivedi’s energetic soundtrack plays a vital role, Dhayaanchand, Daryaa, F For Fyaar work so well with the narration that makes MANMARZIYAAN an indie broadway musical as well.
Production values are topnotch. Sylvester Fonseca’s cinematography is breathtaking. Meghna Gandhi’s production design is authentic. Prashant Sawant’s costumes are apt. Aarti Bajaj’s editing is perfect.
Other actors also excel, Ashnoor Kaur - Rumi’s cousin sister is fabulous. Saurabh Sachdeva (SACRED GAMES) - Kakaji who runs the marriage bureau is outstanding. Vikram Kochhar is fantastic. Arun Bali as Rumi’s grandfather is very natural. Special mention for the applam chapplam – the twin sisters - Poonam Shah and Priyanka Shah is a must, both are excellent.
MANMARZIYAAN has its share of problems, somewhere the overindulgence is felt and in the second half, it is observed that the characters of Robbie, Vicky run out of options. Why there is no back story for Robbie?.
All said and done, MANMARZIYAAN is a love story not a rom com, its real, true, passionate and everlasting, Anurag Kashyap adds his intoxicatingly haunting, real and edgy mix to the bonbon of love Bollywood has been receiving since ages to tell a love story that will haunt for ages from now on.