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Manmarziyaan: My life, my rules - a coming of age tale from Anurag Kashyap

Rating: 4/5
Cast: Abhishek Bachchan as Rajbir 'Robbie' Bhatia, Vicky Kaushal as Vicky Sandhu, Taapsee Pannu as Rumi Bagga, Saurabh Sachdeva as Kakaji, Arun Bali as Rumi's Grandfather
Director: Anurag Kashyap
Music composed by: Amit Trivedi
Production company: Colour Yellow Productions, Phantom Films
Written by: Kanika Dhillon
Editor: Aarti Bajaj
Produced by: Aanand L Rai, Vikas Bahl, Vikramaditya Motwane, Madhu Mantena, Anurag Kashyap 

A scene from Manmarziyaan. Photo courtesy: Eros International
A scene from Manmarziyaan. Photo courtesy: Eros International

Do you remember Refugee? Abi baby’s first movie. And that lovely song? You do? Ok! So here that same tune.

O...Aisa lagta hai 

Jo na hua

Hone ko hai...

(It seems that/ What has not happened/ Is finally set to happen)

Abhishek Bachchan might get his due at the box office for Manmarziyaan, which I believe is worth every penny and every minute spent, because of the quality acting! Please don’t take your kids though, as it’s for a mature, dare I say open/broad minded audience and sets quite a pace.

Though the pre-release hype was not much, it is spreading word of mouth. Anurag Kashyap’s digital era screenplay for a love triangle is so relatable. That waiting for the WhatsApp chime, that friend request on Facebook which says more than a thousand words, that constant checking for updates, we see that happening in the real world all the time. What is also hugely helping the movie is its off-beat, peppy soundtrack. Even before I saw the movie, I had already become familiar with many of the tracks that the DJs were playing and replaying on various radio stations. 

Vicky Kaushal! Vicky Kaushal as Vicky Sandhu aka DJ Sandz. Those who have read my review on Raazi for Connected to India must have heard me gushing about him. Well, he has done a 180-degree turnaround in this character and how well has he done that. I could rave about him, but I won’t. Suffice it to say that I’ll watch this movie again once it’s available on the small screen just for Vicky’s crazy-tough-yet-vulnerable-character.

The cast of Manmarziyaan at the Toronto International Film Festival red carpet. Photo courtesy: Twitter/@dineshbhatia
The cast of Manmarziyaan at the Toronto International Film Festival red carpet. Photo courtesy: Twitter/@dineshbhatia

Abhishek Bachchan as Rajbir 'Robbie' Bhatia might remind you of Ajay Devgn in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. Or even Vicky in Raazi. Or Mohan in Mouna Ragam (an old Tamil movie). If he is like this in real life Aishwarya really has lucked out in the matrimonial roulette.

Taapsee Pannu as Rumi Bagga has never looked better! Toned, tousled, theekhi, spitfire with pink-purple hair and my kinda outfits. Loose shalwars with men’s cut wala long tops and sneakers to round out the ex-hockey player look.

Saurabh Sachdeva as Kakaji, a marriage broker, was so good. Pragmatic, practical, perennially calm, his screen presence was impressive. Finally, Arun Bali as Rumi's grandfather had that Dumbledoresque feel to him. His love for his granddaughter supersedes everything and was palpably one of the lifelines that made her keep her head above the water.

Gone are the days when they faded out or showed two flowers bobbing together when the guy and the girl romanced. Conservative audience might blanch at this movie. But may have to reconcile to the fact that perhaps this may well be the real scene in India today. I did hear a comment that South Indian families wouldn’t condone such behaviour among their girls. Maybe North India, and specifically Punjab, might have a more liberal culture, especially if they down drinks as depicted in the movie. So there! But let’s leave all that where it belongs - with the empty popcorn containers.

The ending was cliched, maybe even contrived and absurdly conservative for an otherwise rabble-rousing character in the movie. Maybe Anurag Kashyap’s homage to the censor board, hmm, with whom he has had ‘pangas’ in the past.

Lakshmy Iyer
Lakshmy Iyer – Senior Correspondent, ASEAN & Entertainment

Lakshmy has been contributing regularly as a freelance writer since 2012. Her writing has been an amalgamation of the language, literature and rich cultural experiences of India as well as South East Asia. An Instructional Designer by profession she is passionate about lifelong learning. Art is her medium of reflection. She participates in art exhibitions thus contributing to the local art scene and using this platform, supports social causes in Singapore as well.