Movie Review: Manmarziyaan Feels Like Chocolate Sauce On Butterscotch

With a terrific ensemble of cast, Manmarziyaan is a messy tale of a tech savvy generation and their love tangles, writes Anupama Jain. 

With a terrific ensemble of cast, Manmarziyaan is a messy tale of a tech savvy generation and their love tangles writes, Anupama Jain. 

Ishq bulava aave jab aave…

Love can come knocking at your heart’s doorstep any moment because it plays foosball with willful hearts. And the heart wants what it wants.

Anurag Kashyap, some say he is an auteur and I’m no esthete to critique. But as a money paying viewer, I can say Manmarziyaan isn’t a movie for the weak hearted. Season ‘Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam’ and its ilk with condiments like pyaar, fyaar (sex and lots of it), sutta (cigarette), daaru (alcohol), Tinder, Facebook – Voila! You have got an insta-gen love and a tale of an arranged marriage. Where the man tells his wife ‘discussion is good’ while they exchange notes on her lover and her proclivity to empower him, who in turn cannot breathe without her, nor can find the gumption to settle down with her.

Can yeh abandon wala love find acceptance without the baggage of marriage?

Abhishek Bachchan plays the role of a ‘good boy’ husband with a kindly uncle’s countenance, who indulgently bears with the neighborhood brat. Tapsi Pannu is irresistibly wild with her fiery red tendrils. She is driven by desires, (of the body, mind and heart) a rebel without a pause and with a singular cause. Vicky Kaushal is the love-smitten DJ who thrives on Fyaar with Tapsi. A floater who simply flits from fyaar to pyaar.

The entire ensemble of cast is terrific though it does feel a bit jarring to see the family react with almost benign anger when they catch Rumi and Vicky in a sexual act, conditioned as we are to honour killings. Maybe Amritsar has leapfrogged a couple of centuries ahead since I last visited.

The bylanes and hustle bustle of Amritsar, kulchas, golgappas add that extra patina. Though the movie begins to meander towards the end, and you realize you have finished two buckets of popcorn and there is more to the confusion on screen, that you start getting restless. But as the screen dad of Abhishek Bachchan says, you will get comfortable.

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May I confess that I liked Vicky Kaushal in Raazi and Masaan more? Taapsi bursts in full HD and compels you to fret. Abhishek watches the fun exploding around, and towards the end decides to join in gamely.  And that recurring motif of the twins shimmying or sipping whenever the lead characters have a ‘What the heck am I doing with my life?’ moment – to convey the dualism of introspection – towards the end, this gag feels like chocolate sauce on a butterscotch.

It isn’t an easy film to like or digest but is a sure indicator of the love tangles that this generation faces. Life indeed is messy for these tech savvies. Where mating of the hearts is the ultimate reality!  Can free love be a way of life, or love means responsibility too?

I confess this much – It is an indulgently riveting movie and I for once am pretty happy with my mundane no-frills life. So much of drama is good only for the screen and not for my stomach. But it is good to see a heroine with a libido. The last scene is an endearing cracker because ‘discussion is good’.

See and decide for yourself.

Who knows, Anurag Kashyap may go back to Pulp Fiction, blood and gore after this sunshine experiment with ‘love actually.’ Till then… Love’s complicated.

Image source: a still from the movie Manmarziyaan

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About the Author


Anupama Jain is the author of: * ’Kings Saviours & Scoundrels -Timeless Tales from Katha Sarita Sagara’, listed as one of the best books of 2022 by @Wordsopedia. Rooted in the traditional storytelling of Indian legends, warriors, read more...

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