Avinash Tiwari, Tripti Dimri, Parmeet Sethi
Laila Majnu, the doomed lovers are brought back by Imtiaz Ali and his brother Sajid Ali but the question is will they be successful in making the film relevant in today’s era?
Love stories are a standard in Bollywood but we like the hero-heroine to live happily ever after. Having said that, films like Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, Ek Duje Ke Liye and even the 1979, Laila Majnu (starring Rishi Kapoor and Ranjita) have been favourites amongst the audience. The star-crossed lovers falling in love with each other despite the social odds, is perhaps yet another done-to-death angle in Bollywood, yet when it comes to Imitiaz Ali writing a script, you can be certain the man has the power to turn the mundane into something special.
The way he introduces Qais (Avinash Tiwari aka Majnu) and Laila (Tripti Dimri) you can be certain this experience will be different from the aged love story you walk in expecting. In a rather awkward moment, Laila walks into Qais’ life and it is love at first sight for him. Qais starts obsessing over Laila and stalking her all across the town. Laila, completely used to having boys falling for her, takes his perusal as a compliment and even agrees to meet her avid stalker. The two being well-aware of their families’ mutual hatred take thrill in their secret meetings but eventually, they are found out.
What happens next is predictable, Laila’s family finds her a suitor and Qais turns into Majnu. The slow dreamy love story that we watch in the first half of the film suddenly turns into a frenzied desperation just like Majnu. The way the film moulds itself to the way the story flows is commendable. But the film completely belongs to the lead pair. This might have been their first feature film, this might have been their big ticket but the pair certainly earns their keep. While Laila oscillates from careless to pained, Tripti shines. She does a fantastic job in making the audience fall in love with her, the confidence with which she holds the scene makes her charming instead of overbearing. She is perfectly cast which is a big deal for her to get noticed because the way Avinash Tiwari owns Majnu, no other actor has managed thus far. The swag of the pursuer, the charm of the lover and the madness of the desperate have all been encompassed into Tiwari beautifully. The man has the audience charmed from the first scene itself. His character works in sync with everything the audience might be thinking about Tiwari. He isn’t the conventional stud of Bollywood but hey, he will have girls swooning alright with his disarming frankness and open face.
Of course, everyone would want to know if we have yet another Imtiaz Ali-esque director in Sajid Ali. The answer is no! That is not to say that Sajid does a bad job, there are moments in the film where you feel one with the characters and that is all Sajid’s doing, but the film is a bit too long. The fact that the film was not publicized as much, also because the unknown faces won’t be pulling the people into the theatre – the film might not really go on to be a blockbuster. But the music by Niladri Kumar and Joi Barua has a charm to it, and maybe years later, they will still charm the audience on the telly. One way or another, everyone associated with this one is sure to find a lot more work in the future, despite this not being the best movie you will see today.