Bollywood is no stranger to chaotic love triangles; they’ve been an integral part of the genre of romance films for decades now. Manmarziyaan, Anurag Kashyap’s latest directorial venture, on the surface would appear to be a run of the mill romance of this very kind, but his expert direction supported by stellar performances by Taapsee Pannu, Vicky Kaushal and Abhishek Bachchan make the film a unique visual delight from beginning to end. The film beautifully encapsulates the highs and lows of a small-town romance. Its charm lies in its examination of the idea of love and its inherent madness.
Rumi (Taapsee Pannu) is a firebrand, listening to no one but herself. A small town girl from Amritsar, Rumi thrives on being a rebellious brat. She’s hot-headed, impulsive and madly in love with Vicky (Vicky Kaushal). The couple are unabashed in their affection for each other, unconcerned with what their families or the society thinks. They love in the open, throwing caution to the wind, absorbed in the recklessness that accompanies youth. When Rumi’s family decides to get her married to someone else, she protests and tells Vicky to step up and ask for her hand in marriage. Vicky however, has own plans, his inability to commit to any one thing in life leaves him confused about marrying Rumi, though he never for once questions his love for her. Harbouring dreams of being a popular DJ one day, Vicky spends his aimless days pursuing this pipe dream. When the time comes for Vicky for to prove his love for Rumi, his fear of commitment doesn’t let him. He doesn’t show up to her house to ask for her hand in marriage.
This event sets off the rest of Manmarziyaan, whose title very aptly describes the mercurial Rumi, who just can’t seem to make up her mind. Abhishek Bachan as Robbie, the groom that’s been chosen for her plays the part of a silent, brooding lover whose caring temperament can tolerate almost anything for the one he loves. Rumi and Vicky spend the first half of the film going back and forth trying to make sense of their relationship; they leave each other but find themselves helplessly drawn to one another once again. The confusion and incoherence of love is what Kashyap is trying to examine. Young love is powerful but it is not without its flaws. With Robbie’s inclusion in the narrative, Manamarizyaan takes a wonderful turn. Rumi and Robbie are the opposite of Rumi and Vicky, there’s tenderness to their relationship, a kind of longing that one can’t quite describe. Abhishek Bachchan’s restrained performance is wonderful to watch; his sad eyes try to make sense of Rumi’s fluctuating temperament but the love in them remains constant.
There is a certain predictability in the film, we’ve understood Rumi and what makes her the way she is, we’re also certain what conclusion the film is heading towards but it’s nonetheless exhilirating to watch. Romance dramas can fall prey to badly written characters and superficial explorations of love but Manmarziyaan makes a sincere effort to make sense of a feeling that nobody has ever been able to fully comprehend. The supporting cast is a great addition to the narrative; they’re equal parts quirky and interesting.
Socially, Manmarziyaan engages with the subject of arranged marriages and small town love affairs, this could easily be a tale about an honour killing or the eternal compromise of arranged marriages. But Manmarziyaan steers clear of these devices; it wants to offer a more hopeful outlook on love and companionship. The romanticisation of one’s first love is what the film tries to subvert by showing the audience that it is possible to have more than one great love in your life. Amit Trivedi’s soaring soundtrack adds a whole new dimension to the film, the songs represent the inner turmoil each of the character’s go through as they try to navigate the complex situation they find themselves in.
Taapsee Pannu stands out throughout the film because of her powerful performance, one can’t help but empathise with Rumi and her fickle decisions, all of us have at one point struggled to make decisions that could potentially alter our lives. The final sequence of the film is particularly poignant as we see Rumi finally understand what she really wants. The film manages to blend romance and coming-of-age rather seamlessly. Manmarizyaan is a mainstream film, something that Kashyap isn’t associated with, yet despite its cliché’s and repetitive tropes, it manages to tug at your heart strings and leaves you rooting for love.
Picture Credits : boxofficecapsule.com