Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari: Movie Review
Cast: Manoj Bajpayee, Diljit Dosanjh, Fatima Sana Shaikh
Director: Abhishek Sharma
Story: Abhishek Sharma
Writers: Rohan Shankar, Shokhi Banerjee
Music: Kingshuk Chakravarty (Score) Javed–Mohsin, Kingshuk Chakravarty (Songs)
Production Company: Zee Studios
Distributor: Zee Studios International
Cinematographer: Anshuman Mahaley
Editor: Rameshwar S. Bhagat
Zee Studios’ Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari is the first mainstream Hindi film to hit Indian theatres in eight months, since the Government of India prohibited screening of films in theatres in March 2020 due to rising cases of Covid-19.
Lest you miss that it is set in 1995, the numbers are flashed in the beginning as are pagers, tape recorders and Mumbai signboards going up as Bombay underwent its name change.
With some of Bollywood’s finest actors - Manoj Vajpayee, Diljeet Dosanj, Vijay Raaz, accompanied by Fatima Sana Sheikh and Supriya Pilgaokar (wife of popular actor Sachin Pilgaonkar) the film is fast paced and crisply edited.
Even the item number Basanti, moves the movie forward, unlike some recent releases where songs feel like force fits. Its lyrics are a fun ode to Dharmendra and Hema Malini's iconic Sholay.
Directed by Abhishek Sharma (Tere Bin Laden, Parmanu: The Story of Pokhran, The Zoya Factor) it is buoyed by diametrically opposite yet complimentary performances by Bajpayee and Dosanjh.
Bajpayee as wedding detective Madhu Mangal Rane, is out to expose all the dirty truths about grooms-to-be and is unapologetically ruthless in breaking up what he considers ‘bad’ alliances, not stopping at even his own sister’s.
In that era before social media, back in the 1990’s, background checks on prospective grooms had to be done in person. Madhu relishes it, donning several disguises that bring out his inner ‘Diva’ starting with his Shakuntala doing the ‘vat-Savitri puja’.
But soon it is his real self versus the simple, straightforward Suraj Singh Dhillon (Diljit Dosanjh) and this is where he is even better in showcasing multiple shades of grey.
His constant repartee with his beautician mom (Supriya Pilgaonkar) - with whom Madhu shares a workspace as well as an acerbic relationship - makes you forget that the two actors are just a couple of years apart in age in real life.
Annu Kapoor as Madhu's uncle who works for him and knows his true colours, stands toe to toe with Bajpayee in the acting department. The Marathi song Annu sings at his niece's engagement reminds us of his passion for music and his Antakshari days.
Fatima Sana Shaikh as Madhu’s sister Tulshi has the perfect Marathi-twang in her Hindi. With Netflix’s Ludo and now Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari she’s had two good roles in close releases.
Manoj Pahwa and Seema Pahwa, the real life couple are Suraj’s parents and an example of successful migrants from other states in Mumbai (who ahem! still don't speak Marathi).
Abhishek Banerjee in a blink and miss and Vijay Raaz in another unforgettable role round up the supporting cast.
Without being preachy, the writers do give a nod in the direction of socio-political points such as dowry being illegal, forced marriages and freedom of choice for girls, be it in career or clothes.
Laugh out loud moments include some hilarious dialogues which will evoke even more laughs if you are familiar with Hindi, Marathi, Punjabi and Mumbaiya Hindi as well.
The writer thinks that this planetary alignment of sun and mars vis-a-vis earth is a perfect antidote to bring some cheer in the wake of the gloom spread by the global pandemic.