Genre: Drama, Romance, Comedy
Director: Anurag Kashyap
Whatever Punjabis do, it’s not only without inhibition but with a great deal of spontaneity. If ‘Udta Punjab’ (2016) showcased the rampant drug menace in the state, ‘Manmarziyaan’, Anurag Kashyap’s latest — a romantic comedy — has dollops of free-spirited, licentious and overt passion.
Kashyap, one of India’s most intrepid and audacious directors, has now, in his latest, trained his sights on a romantic triangle. The orphaned Rumi (Tapsee Pannu) and Vicky (Vicky Kaushal), an aspiring DJ, are passionately in love with each other — till one day, Rumi’s aunt catches her, well, almost red-handed. Vicky continues professing his love for Rumi, but is perennially undecided and unable to commit to marriage.
This is the reason for Amritsar-born writer Kanika Dhillon now to shift gears and introduce the third character —Rumi’s prospective groom — London returned banker Robbie — Rajbir Bhatia (Abhishek Bachchan).
The 157-minute film (stretched by at least 20 minutes) has some award-winning performances from Vicky Kaushal (Raazi, Sanju) and Tapsee Pannu, who’s come a long way from ‘Pink’ and ‘Naam Shabana’ to ‘Mulk’ and ‘Manmarziyaan’.The gravitas in her latest here is underlined by her vivacity, her native Punjabi accent which she nails head-on and her bubbly looks. Kaushal steals the show in the first half. His boundless energy, coupled with Pannu’s chutzpah, sets the tone for a taut first half.
Abhishek, seen on the big screen after a couple of years and despite bagging a tailor-made role, fails to make the desired impact and comes third-best. He seems to struggle with his accent which is neither Punjabi nor British.
Largely shot in Punjab, the film travels to Delhi and Kashmir where cinematographer Sylvester Fonseca has captured the scenic locales well. With more than ten songs by Amit Trivedi (Dear Zindagi) in the film — although the strains of Dhyaanchand and two more are catchy — Kashyap’s intentions seem unclear. The second half is the weak spot in the film and at one stage the viewer would have been happy had Rumi tossed a coin to decide on her future partner.
And yes, the film opens quite well — with a song and the synchronized dance by the twins Poonam and Priyanka Shah, but Kashyap seems infatuated with the twin syndrome and overdoes it in the movie.
Overall, it’s certainly worth a one time watch — Vicky Kaushal and Tapsee Pannu’s performances ensure it so.
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