Bollywood is primarily known for love stories and many of the films belonging to this genre have been huge successes. A lot of these have been love triangles. But soon it emerged that it doesn’t project the reality, especially the confusion that prevails in such situations. Anurag Kashyap, known for dark and hard-hitting cinema, decides to switch gears and make a light-hearted romantic story dealing with three characters. So does this ‘commercial experiment’ work? Or does it fail? Let’s analyse.
MANMARZIYAAN is the story of a girl trapped between two lovers. Rumi (Taapsee Pannu) is a rebellious girl from Amritsar. She is orphaned at a young age and stays with her paternal uncle and family. She’s in love with Vicky aka DJ Sandzzz (Vicky Kaushal) who stays close to her house. Vicky is used to secretly coming to her house to meet her in her bedroom. One day, he gets caught and all hell breaks loose. Rumi’s family members decide to get her married. But Rumi puts her foot down, stating that she’ll marry only Vicky. She also assures that Vicky and his parents will come to their house to ask her hand for marriage. However, Vicky shies away from responsibilities. Hence, he gets a jolt when Rumi brings up the topic of marriage. Meanwhile, Robbie (Abhishek Bachchan), based in London, arrives at Amritsar to meet his family and get married, as per the wishes of his family. Realizing that Vicky is commitment and marriage phobic, Rumi gives the nod to her family to find someone for marriage. Hence, Robbie and Rumi meet. For Robbie, it’s love at first sight. Rumi also agrees for marriage. Vicky gets livid when he hears about her wedding. A day before the marriage, he tells Rumi that he’s changed and is ready to take responsibilities and get married. Rumi still has love for Vicky and she agrees to elope with him. She first meets Robbbie at night and informs him that she can’t get married to him. What happens next forms the rest of the film.
Kanika Dhillon’s story is impressive and a bit novel, despite based on a premise that’s been done to death hundreds of times. Kanika Dhillon’s screenplay is engaging and layered at places. The characters are very well fleshed out and the dynamics shared by them are superb. However, after a point, the film begins to slip in the second half. Also, at around 155 minutes, the film is a bit too long. Moreover, the bold theme of the film may put off certain section of audiences. The appeal of the film hence might be towards the urban and youth audiences more than others. Kanika Dhillon’s dialogues are powerful and acidic. The funny one-liners are also well written.
Anurag Kashyap’s direction carries his trademark stamp although the subject here is a bit lighter as compared to his other films. He does justice to the overall plot but when the film begins to get a bit repetitive, even his execution is not able to do much.
Let’s get one thing straight. MANMARZIYAAN is not a remake of DHADKAN  or HUM DIL DE CHUKE SANAM  as alleged by some netizens after watching the trailer. From the treatment to the characters to the happenings, there’s no similarity between these two films and MANMARZIYAAN. The film begins on a fun, musical note, depicting the hot romance between Vicky and Rumi. As the title suggests, the characters in the film do as their heart pleases. This aspect is brought right correctly, especially in the first half. The way dramatic sequences and songs are neatly blended also make for a good watch. One of the best scenes of the first half is when Rumi blasts Vicky in the middle of the highway. The intermission comes at a crucial point and one looks forward to what will happen next. Sadly, the film slips in the second half and even starts dragging. The pre-climax is unconvincing although the way the finale is presented makes up for it.
MANMARZIYAAN is embellished with some fine performances. Taapsee Pannu is electrifying and one can’t take one’s eyes off her. In recent times, she has given some memorable performances like PINK, NAAM SHABANA  and in the recently released MULK . But her performance in MANMARZIYAAN stands out and is surely her most accomplished work till date! Vicky Kaushal who is on a great spree this year delivers a yet another rocking performance. He gets totally into the skin of the character and looks every inch a wannabe musician cum DJ from a small North Indian town. His breakdowns, his silences, his way of communicating with his eyes are too good. Abhishek Bachchan maintains a strong position and it’s a pleasure to see him on screen after ages. He gets to play the role of a soft-spoken guy while the other two characters are quite dynamic. But this doesn’t mean that he gets overshadowed. He makes his presence felt and his breakdown in the second half is something to watch out for. Also watch out how he emotes in the ‘suhaag raat’ sequence immediately after interval and when the marriage bureau guy tries to badmouth Rumi. Supporting characters in the film also do a very fine job. Ashnoor Kaur (Kiran; Rumi’s cousin sister) is fine. Saurabh Sachdeva (Kaka ji, who runs the marriage bureau) has a crucial part and does very well. Vikram Kochhar (Robbie’s brother) adds to the fun quotient. The actors playing Rumi’s Darji and Robbie’s mother are also quite good.
Amit Trivedi’s music is one of the pillars of the film as it’s a musical. Not all songs are memorable but they are well inserted in the narrative. ‘Daryaa’ is the best of the lot and both the versions are played in some important scenes. ‘Grey Walaa Shade’, played in the very beginning, sets the mood of the film. ‘F For Fyaar’ is hardly there while ‘Dhayaan Chand’ is funky and well shot. ‘Bijlee Giregi’ is peppy and ‘Kundali’ is a nice celebratory track. ‘Hallaa’ is played during a very tense sequence. ‘Chonch Ladhiyaan’and ‘Jaisi Teri Marzi’ are sweet while ‘Sacchi Mohabbat’ is poignant. Amit Trivedi’s background score is also very much in sync with the film’s theme. And watch out for the twin sensations, Poonam Shah and Priyanka Shah, dancing in the middle of the Amritsar streets while the characters go about with their lives. It gives a unique touch!
Sylvester Fonseca’s cinematography captures the tensions, the realistic locations and the locales of Kashmir beautifully. Meghna Gandhi’s production design is straight out of life and psychedelic in the scenes of Vicky’s studio. Prashant Sawant’s costumes are quite appropriate. All characters are dressed as per their personalities. Aarti Bajaj’s editing is simple and neat.
On the whole, MANMARZIYAAN comes across as a contemporary and an unorthodox tale laced with some brilliant performances and powerful writing. The bold theme of the film might restrict its appeal but its target audience is sure to give the film a thumbs up.