Movie Review: Manmarziyaan is a waste of time, money & talent

Ace director Anurag Kashyap, an erstwhile exponent of ‘Maa Behan‘ on audio mode in his movies, finally makes an attempt to cast ‘Maa Behan’ as characters on screen! On the face of it, Manmarziyaan, with a heavy splattering of Punjabi dialogues and Bhangra-Rap influenced soundtrack, seems a 2018 Punjabi version of Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. Yet Kashyap’s version is such a long, bore, snore-fest with inconsistent story-line and weak editing, that you end up muttering ‘Maa Behan‘ for the majority of the time.

Wild boyfriend or stable husband?

Manmarziyaan takes on the popular Indian dilemma amongst ladies – that the boyfriend should be a wild guy and the husband, a nice guy. A thought which has increased manifold in the 21st century as the world gets more globalized by the day and modern smartphone tools continue giving a perception of ‘Oh! I have too many friends’. Every lady now has a plethora of choices and options, or so it seems. Should I hang out with x or y? or both? or keep z for next year? Should I marry the wild and irresponsible DJ from Amritsar or should I go for the stable banker based out of London?

The positives

Taapsee Pannu’s Rumi, a feisty, independent and decisive person strangely falls flat when it comes to choosing her life partner. Vicky (Kaushal) gives unpredictability and X factor while Robbie (Bachchan) is willing to play the ideal second fiddle. If one’s Ronaldo, the other is Messi. It’s that close; is what you would think. Not at all. Despite terrific performances by the leads and side characters (especially the matchmaker Kaka and Robbie’s brother) the inconsistency in other areas ruins the experience. The brilliant first hour hits a trough and keeps going down and down. By the last hour, you don’t care who she marries and why. All you are looking for is some residual entertainment to claim relief for the time and money invested.

From where it all goes wrong

Kashyap and his team’s penchant for sticking to reality and sharp technical details misses some big points here. Even though Rumi’s character reminds you a lot of Jab We Met’s Geet, the chances of you spotting a Punjabi middle-class girl sneaking in his boyfriend, twice a day, to make (three times orgasm laden) ‘fyaar’ behind closed doors, are very low. Rumi repeatedly jeopardizing her marriage process in hope that Vicky will formally ask her hand one day seems impractical. Or Robbie tolerating this nonsense for so long. In Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam you often compared the three leads and wondered who was more right. Here you are left wondering who is more wrong.

Probably it’s the makers. With unexpected and unexplained jerks in story-line and poorly sketched characters, they spoil the entire talent they had at hand. What makes Vicky have change of heart and become responsible despite no revenue earning? Why does he suddenly appear suited booted to meet Robbie? What efforts does he put to justify Rumi break her marriage – just a knock at the door? If Rumi really cannot survive without the twice a day ‘fyaar’ (the only logical reason given) then why does she suddenly change mind again after divorcing? Or Vicky again change mind, after changing his mind twice before? Is changing mind the new constant?

Anurag Kashyap is the best, but not in Manmarziyaan

In Vicky Kaushal’s dozen-odd filmography, he doesn’t get the girl in ten of those movies. Beyond intermission, even that point of interest vanished from my thoughts. Taapsee Pannu’s top-notch acting skills, Vicky’s dance steps, Bachchan’s expressive eyes, the effervescent soundtrack and the pair of twins (seen everywhere) remain the only points of interest. Anurag Kashyap is my favourite director and I worship many of his movies, watching reruns again and again from DVDs in my personal collection. I long for another Ugly Mukkabaaz from him soon, that releases on a Black Friday and charms the audience with Sacred Games! That’s the only way my mind wishes to forget Manmarziyan.

Rating: 2.5/5 (Average fare; I personally found it very disappointing)

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