To Choose Or Not To Choose

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD

 

Manmarziyaan was one of the movies I was most excited about in 2018. Being a huge fan of Anurag Kashyap, seeing him tackle a love story that involved Vicky Kaushal, Taapsee Pannu and Abhishek Bachchan was reason enough to be excited. And just to be clear, I loved the film but I do have an issue with the way it ended. More on that later but for now, I’d like to talk about the rest of the film. The story of Manmarziyaan can be described in one line and it may not sound interesting. What makes the film work is the screenplay by Kanika Dhillon and of course, the performances. Though the two male leads do a really good job, the film clearly belongs to Taapsee’s Rumi. She is without a doubt one of the more interesting characters to come out of Hindi cinema in the recent past and it is hard to think of anyone else in that role. The way she buzzes around with this crackling energy is a sheer joy to watch. She internalizes the character to such an extent that every time we see her on screen, we only see Rumi.

As for the men, Vicky Kaushal as DJ Sandzz does what we have come to expect from him. He would have stolen the show but that honor belongs to Rumi for being such a captivating presence. We also have Abhishek’s Robbie who for most of the film is on the sidelines watching all the drama unfold. Though he doesn’t get as many dramatic moments as the other two, the quietness in his performance is something to behold. It brings a calmness to the happenings and the contrast between him and Rumi is beautiful to watch. He is one actor who I would consider to be underrated and hopefully, this film shows more people how good he can be.

rumi

Now, let’s get to that ending. Throughout the film, I was more curious about how it would end rather who she’ll pick. We know that at the end that Rumi has chosen Robbie but he is being set up with another girl. The way I see it, she should not have chosen Robbie for it felt like a more convenient way to wrap up the story. For a film that is so unconventional in its treatment, I wished that it had a different resolution. Having Robbie reject her, in the end, may have been a bit cruel on Rumi. But the way I see it, both these relationships would have led her to something even better. For those who criticize the film and Rumi for making changes to her decision, it is not always easy to make a choice when it is as important as this. She’s deciding the course of her life so, let us not be so hard on her. I’m not saying that this ending was wrong as such, it is just that there was an opportunity for the film to make to break even more ground. Manmarziyaan has not only given us some of the best performances of the year, it also gave us what is arguably the soundtrack of the year. Amit Trivedi brings out so many shades of his genius that one can just sit back in awe. Kashyap has had a great with both his films Mukkabaaz and this one doing well critically and commercially. If the next chapter of one of India’s most celebrated filmmakers involves scripts by Kanika Dhillon, the result is bound to be terrific.

Until next time, bye.

Enduring Sadness

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD

The 2015 film Masaan, is one of the finest films to come out of India from any decade. For a long time, Indian cinema has been attached with a particular image that is, not reflective of the deep heritage and quality of Indian films. It is a country that has been producing great films for more than a century, but a lot of these films don’t get the attention and recognition that they deserve. To be fair, India hasn’t been completely ignored by the world but there are definitely many more films that are waiting to be discovered. Luckily Masaan was a film that the world got to see and this is important as it meant that more people got to see this brilliant film. There are many elements that make this film great – from the performances to the direction but if there is one department that stands head and shoulders above the rest, it is the writing by Varun Grover.

masaan

This above scene is probably the finest example of the quality of the writing in the film. It comes after Deepak’s love Shaalu has died and he has had a drink for the first time in his life. Then, he utters a line that for me is one of the most poignant dialogues that I’ve heard. He says, “Yeh Dukh Kaahe Khatam Nahi Hota”. When translated, it means: why doesn’t this sadness end ? In one line, he manages to say so much about life. When you think about it, life does seem like a constant stream of sadness at times. Most of life is how you react to the dukh (sadness, problems etc.) that happens to you. So, sadness becomes something that is enduring and something we have to endure. This is a man who has had his life turned upside down and he’s kept his grief bottled up until this moment, when it becomes too much to bear. There are times when we wonder why certain things happen to us. The truth is that there is no reason or even if there is one, we haven’t found it yet. Let’s leave that to Varun Grover to explore in his next film. If you haven’t watched Masaan please do. I am sure that it will speak to you on some level.

Until next time, bye.