Boy loves girl. Girl loves boy. But family disapproves of boy. Girl gets married to another boy. This is a done-to-death formula, the classic love triangle that has appeared in many avatars, from Woh Saat Din in 1983 to Hum Dil Chuke Sanam in 1999. Should the girl go back to her lover or stay with her husband? That is the moral poser that most of these films ask. The answer always is, marriage wins!But what do the three people involved in this triangle go through? What are the emotional upheavals that they experience? Manmarziyaan is a film that focuses on the weighty questions in a love triangle where the characters and their emotions take centre stage. The background of family, society and morality seem to fade out and what remains is the raw emotion of love.
Vicky aka DJ Saandz is a carefree young man. He leaps over building walls and terrace tops every morning to meet Rumi, the woman he is madly in love with. The two are crazy about each other, yearning for each other’s touch, unable to stay apart. Rumi’s family is does not approve of this relationship. She lost her parents at a very young age and now lives with her extended family, who is not pleased with this relationship. But Rumi believes that Vicky is perfect for her. She tells her family that Vicky will come home and ask for her hand in marriage. But Vicky is not ready to make the commitment. Upset and angry, Rumi decides to marry the guy her family had chosen. Enter Robbie, a banker from London. One look at Rumi and he falls for her. When Vicky gets to know about this development, he pleads with Rumi to come back to him. Rumi agrees, but once again, she is left high and dry by Vicky. Unable to take this constant indecision, she goes ahead and marries Robbie. The twists and turns in the lives of these three people make up the rest of the narrative of Manmarziyaan. The story is not who gets who but about the emotional roller coaster that the three people go through till they get what they deserve, or maybe even wanted.
This is the first film in Anurag Kashyap’s entire repertoire that does not look like an Anurag Kashyap film; it is more like the producer of this film, Aanand L Rai’s film! Full marks to the writer Kanika Dhilon for coming up with a story that puts the woman in the centre of a love storm. Set in the streets and lanes of Amritsar, Manamrizyaan captures the city and its characteristics beautifully. Kashyap brings the three characters to life beautifully. Under his direction, the three actors become his Robbie, Rumi and Vicky. They are all heart and emotion, just plain, raw emotion. They are unapologetic about who they are and how they feel. It is during these moments that you know you are watching an Anurag Kashyap film. The interaction that Rumi has with Vicky and Robbie are diametrically opposite, and that duality is a reflection of the dual state of mind of the characters. This conflict has been portrayed on screen symbolically as well. We don’t know if this came from the writer or the director, but either way, it is well done!
And, of course, there’s the music. Kashyap is one of those few directors who know how to use music in their films without obstructing the story telling. The film starts with a song and ends with a song… a true blue musical love story. Amit Trivedi has probably given one of his best scores to date. The songs grow on you and before you know it they drag you into their notes and words. Shellee’s lyrics add a lot of character to the story, especially Daryaa, Halla and Dhyanchand. Cinematography is superb. The only negative in the film is its length, especially the second half and the slightly long-drawn climax.
Performance-wise, the film has several supporting actors who have played their parts well, but this film belongs to the three central characters – Taapsee ‘Rumi’ Pannu, Vicky ‘Vicky’ Kaushal and Abhishek ‘Robbie’ Bachchan. Each of them shines in their roles and make every scene come alive with their presence.
With every film, Pannu continues to surprise with her performance, and in Manmarziyaan she goes all out. Her brash and brazen portrayal is perfect. Kaushal is not the quintessential bad boy but he sort of represents a generation that doesn’t know the difference between love and lust. He embraces his character with open arms. Despite the length of his role, DJ Saandz is unforgettable. But the actor who comes out shining in Manmarziyaan is Abhishek Bachchan. After having been away from films for two years, the actor is back with a bang. His Robbie may be too good to be true but he makes him real and believable. The sabbatical seems to have rejuvenated Bachchan Junior, who is ready to give the younger crop of actors a run for their money. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that Abhishek Bachchan delivers an award-winning performance.