A modern-day romance-musical set in the bylanes of Punjab, Manmarziyan, like all Anurag Kashyap films, is rooted in realism. It gets the setting and atmosphere spot on. The film soaks in the nuances of the city — the culture, the language, the energy; the characters belong there. That’s plain sailing for a director of his calibre.
The age-old premise wrapped in a modern-day packaging centres around passionate, carefree lovers — fierce and fiery Rumi, and the reckless, committment-phobic Vicky — both fearless in the face of consequences. What happens when a sorted, mature, ‘husband-material’ Robbie walks into this love story?
The story is old wine; it doesn’t lead here. Manmarziyan is a character-driven tale, of love, trust, betrayal. (And the opening song Isha De Rang Yaara Grey Wala Shade Hai pretty much sets the tone). It explores the complexities of the characters in love — the madness, the chaos, the conflicts, the raging desires within — battling their inner voices against the outside clamour.
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Taapsee Pannu, Vicky Kaushal and Abhishek Bachchan deliver strong performances. Taapsee adds spunk to the film leading it out and out in the first half but it’s Abhishek Bachchan whose charm and understated intensity take over to keep you riveted in the second half.
While Rumi and Vicky’s chemistry is all fyaar and fire, there were stronger undercurrents of love between Rumi and Robbie (the closing conversation is proof) that I wish were better and much earlier explored in the film. It takes too long to get there.
If you’re looking for novelty, Manmarziyan may not have much to offer. But the film boasts of brilliant performances in the leads and has its heart in the right place to make this worth your while.
By Mansi Dutta
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