Manmarziyaan Movie Review: Taapsee Pannu, Vicky Kaushal, Abhishek Bachchan's Performances Sparkle in This Character-Driven Love Story
Manmarziyaan Movie Review

In a scene from Manmarziyaan, when a spunky Rumi (Taapsee Pannu) insists with her blue-haired wannabe DJ boyfriend Vicky (Vicky Kaushal) to marry out of the blue, he asks her when in the past have they even discussed marriage. After all, it is not just her decision to make, it's his too. Later, when Robbie (Abhishek Bachchan)'s friends ask him why he wants to marry a girl with someone else, he replies he wants to give her an option. Well, Manmarziyaan is a love triangle that depends on the consequences of these impulsive, even imperfect decisions. Directed by Anurag Kashyap, Manmarziyaan is pretty complicated story told through the many ballads of Rumi, Vicky and Robbie. Manmarziyaan Trio Taapsee Pannu, Abhishek Bachchan And Vicky Kaushal Take Over TIFF; View Pics

Rumi has been in love with a care-free Vicky, who loves her back with equal passion, and jumps from rooftops to rooftops to spend some intimate moments with her. Their dalliances, while known to the entire mohalla, is caught by Rumi's family who tells her to get married. When she insists that she will only get married to Vicky, they reluctantly agree. However, Vicky, who has run away from responsibilities all his life, gets cold feet at the idea of marriage, even though he insists that he still loves her. An angry Rumi tells her family that she is ready for an arranged marriage alliance.

Enters Robbie, a soft-spoken UK-returned banker, who is swayed away by just a picture of Rumi. Rumi, however, is still in two minds about whether to go ahead with her marriage to a good-hearted Rumi or be with a frisky, non-commital Vicky. And when Vicky gets cold feet again for the umpteenth time, Rumi gets married to Robbie. But how hard is it to love a new man when you can't get over your old flame? What happens your marriage is done out of spite rather than love? Manmarziyaan First Reviews from TIFF 2018 OUT! Taapsee Pannu Gets Lions Share of Praise; Abhishek Bachchan, Vicky Kaushal Get Applauded Too!

Forgive me for a little sexist touch here, but there is a general perception that girls look for carefree daredevils when it comes to flings, and serious, responsible men for life-partners. Manmarziyaan plays with this idea with Vicky and Robbie filling each spectrum. And Rumi shuttles between the two, as and when her mind and whims sway.

The premise may be old - we have seen such ideas explored in films like Woh Saat Din, Bewafaa, Kabhi Alvidaa Na Kehna and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. But while the other movies gave impetus to the canvas, emotions and the circumstances, Manmarziyaan is more character-driven.

Instead of letting the situations or the supporting characters drive the plot, here it is the decisions taken by the main characters that define their journey. That gives the done-to-death love triangle a refreshing Punjabi tadka. Like for example, while Rumi's family asks her to get married, they do not force her or beat her, instead, let her take the decisions while reluctantly adjusting with her whimsical dilly-dallying.

This actually proves to be a double-edged sword for the film when it comes to acceptance from the audience. It all depends on how well you like the impulsiveness of these characters, especially Rumi. For this is her movie, and most of the events in the film are swung by her decisions. Just ask yourself, would you relate to the leads in Shudhh Desi Romance? Well, Manmarziyaan's characters are nearly like that, only better written.

I, especially, loved how the characters of Vicky and Rumi were written. Imbibing the spunkiness and swag of Punjab, these two get to you instantly. Vicky is those dudes you have seen in Amritsar, obsessed with Honey Singh, booze and six-packs and wanting to make a career in music. He may be averse to marriage but don't want anyone to claim the woman he loves.

Rumi is not the conventional female lead you see in Bollywood; she is driven by her passions, impulses and desires. She is a well-written character, who is not white. She knows her imperfections and she revels in it. It is she who has the joystick in her hand when it comes to her love life (even though the results are not always in her favour), even when it comes to lovemaking. For Rumi, it's her own life that has more priority than her family's prestige. She even tells her aunt, "Sharm ke naam mein zindagi Na barbad karoon main!'

The movie shines brightly when the focus is on these two, especially when they make all the rash decisions to spite each other.

On the contrary, Abhishek Bachchan's Robbie is made to look like a quintessential nice guy, or as Rumi calls him, Ram 2.0. It feels more like a retread of his character in Abhishek Bachchan's own character in Main Prem Ki Deewani Hoon, only with less sugar coating. However, there is more to Robbie than being Ramji; there are chinks in his armour too. He prefers to be a witness to how Vicky and Rumi's equation turns out, only for it to affect him later. The amount of maturity that his character shows in dealing with his wife's reluctance to let go of her past, while trying to make space for himself in her life, making Robbie really intriguing. Later he also gives an explanation of why he is Mr Nice, although it feels more like the makers were trying to give some layers to him at the last moment.

Manmarziyaan is an unusual film for Anurag Kashyap, known for his dark, gritty films, and he doesn't disappoint here, unlike his earlier subversion with Bombay Velvet. However, it is Kanika Dhillon's writing that shines more, especially how she writes the dialogues and the main characters. Both of them manage to bring in the essence of Amritsar with ease in the proceedings. However, it is difficult to follow some of the dialogues spoken in chaste Punjabi, if you are not one. The cinematography by Sylvester Fonseca adheres to the movie's narration in following the characters while letting the environs build up the setting around them. Anurag Kashyap Birthday Special: Ranking All Bollywood Feature-Length Movies The Manmarziyaan Director Has Made From Worst to the Best

What stops Manmarziyaan's transition from good to great, though, is the conventionality brought in the third act. Some of Rumi's decisions here feel irritating, more than usual. The way how they have written out the third angle in the love story makes little sense, considering the person's actions before. Manmarziyaan also opts for a very trite, conventional ending (which also makes it the happiest Anurag Kashyap film), as loose threads fit perfectly into conveniently placed holes. I do wish Anurag had gone for a hopeful, open-ended stance instead of making things Bollywood-happy.

Plus, there are too many songs (Amit Trivedi) in the film and they are not as seamlessly inculcated as his Dev.D. At two and a half hours, the movie is too long to be appreciated, though some of the terrific humour eases the path.

The Performances

Manmarziyaan belongs to Taapsee Pannu and the actress does complete justice to her fire-brand character. Even though some of her actions may irk you, Taapsee's complete involvement in the character makes them feel so natural. It is good to see her go from strength to strength with each role we are seeing her in.

Is there any good adjective left to describe any Vicky Kaushal performance that hasn't been used before? If so, allow me to borrow it! The actor delivers another terrific performance as the easy-going youngster, yet to come in terms of responsibility, but is an impassioned lover. He perfects the body mannerisms and lingo to make Vicky a very relatable, and not at all unlikable character. 10 Pictures Of Vicky Kaushal From Manmarziyaan Trailer To Quench Your Thirsty Thursday!

Abhishek Bachchan takes the more conventional-looking role, and the actor uses his natural charisma to make it work. Often underplaying the character, he is especially good in the outburst scene and in the final moments. Among the supporting cast, Saurabh Sachdeva stands out as the shrewd, hen-pecked matchmaker.

 

Yay!

- All the lead actors

- The writing of the characters

- The dialogues

- The making

Nay!

- The conventionality of the premise

- Too many songs

- A rushed third act

- Too long

Final Thoughts

Manmarziyaan is an unusual love story that uses a heard-before premise and let the characters drive it to achieve a different effect. Backed by some good writing and excellent performances, Manmarziyaan works for those looking for something different in movies that deal with the matters of the heart.

Rating:3out of 5