Two years back, producer-director Aanand L Rai had green-lit a film called ‘Manmarziyaan’ which was to be directed by Sameer Sharma and feature Ayushmann Khurrana, Bhumi Pednekar and Vicky Kaushal in principle roles. After shooting a few reels, the film got shelved because of creative differences with Rai and Sharma. Later, Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari was roped in to direct the film but even then, the film could not take off. Now, after two years the film is releasing in theatres with Anurag Kashyap helming it and Abhishek Bachchan, Taapsee Pannu and Vicky Kaushal leading the cast.
Rumi’s (Taapsee Pannu) parents died when she was very young and ever since then, she grew up in a household consisting of her relatives who pampered and treated her with a lot of love and care. However, the one person who is most important to her is Vicky (Vicky Kaushal), a young, directionless lad who works as a small-time DJ. Rumi and Vicky are madly in love with each other. When Rumi’s family discovers their affair, they get livid at her as Vicky does not really have a great reputation to boast of. They assure her that they will find the right man for her to get married to but Rumi is adamant about the fact that Vicky is the only man she will ever be with. But, soon Rumi realises that Vicky is commitment-phobic and agrees to meet Robbie (Abhishek Bachchan), an NRI who has come back home to find a bride for himself.
The screenplay, written by Kanika Dhillon, largely follows the blueprint of several romantic films, exploring the equation shared by three people, one has seen in the past. What distinguishes this film from the rest is the fact that Kanika incorporates a melange of lovely scenes and juicy dialogues that makes the film an immensely enjoyable experience. Another factor that adds to the novelty of the film is that the screenplay justifies the title of the film very well. Rumi and Vicky are frivolous, impulsive and carefree like a lot of young people in today’s world. They go where their heart takes them and in the process, they commit several mistakes which they own up to eventually. Anurag does a splendid job at showing their confused minds and bringing their flaws to the fore without making them come across as unlikeable characters. There are some lovely nuances in the screenplay which stay with you for long. For instance, the scene in which Vicky’s father asks him to keep him away from Rumi’s life by reminding him that he has never pursued a hobby or a passion seriously in life, is very nice. The first half the film passes off like a breeze. In the second half though, there are a few bumps in the screenplay. Rumi’s attraction towards Robbie is not fully justified. There are a bunch of scenes in the second hour that should have been trimmed or done away with for a better impact. Thankfully, the climax has been written, directed and performed very well and leaves a huge impact. Though there are plenty of songs (great music courtesy Amit Trivedi and Shellee) in the film, they are woven neatly into the film and do not impede the narrative.
Abhishek Bachchan, who makes a comeback to the movies after two years, delivers a fairly good performance. He gets a well-etched out part and he does justice to it. Taapsee is clearly the star of the show. Hers is the best written part and she acts out all the scenes with aplomb. Vicky Kaushal gets a little side-lined in the second half but he makes his presence felt in every scene he appears in. He brings out the loudness and madness of the character he plays very well. Veteran Arun Bali is terrific as the patriarch of the Bagga family and as the grandfather who dotes on Rumi. Saurabh Sachdeva is very good as Kaka ji, who runs the marriage bureau. Ashnoor Kaur does a good job as Rumi’s younger sister.
‘Manmarziyaan’ is not a run-of-the-mill love triangle simply because the writer and the director make a sincere effort to explore the characters and the milieu they are dealing with very well. The film is replete with a large number of memorable scenes and lines that stay with you long after the end credits stop rolling.