Taapsee Pannu, Abhishek Bachchan, Vicky Kaushal
As it made its world premiere at TIFF, I was excited to see how the audience would react to a film like Manmarziyaan, which seems, at first blush, to be the standard love triangle, but when you throw these actors and Anurag Kashyap into the mix, you know you will be in for a unique experience.
The film starts off with two people who literally cannot keep their hands off each other – Rumi, played by Taapsee Pannu, and Vicky, played by Vicky Kaushal. They are in love (lust and love) and they literally cannot keep out of bed. When their family finds out, the pressure is on for the two of them to get married. But Vicky, that Vicky, just cannot commit. So begins the conflict between Rumi and Vicky, where Rumi tries to get him to commit, and he tries to thwart all requests. Enters Robbie, played by Abhishek Bachchan, through the arranged marriage paradigm. And so, begins the love triangle so deeply entrenched in Hindi cinema, but this one is full of implosions and explosions.
I want to start off by saying that when this film starts off, one cannot believe that it is an Anurag Kashyap film. But as the film delves deeper, and brings out the layers in each character, and the flaws that you fall deeply in love with, you know you are watching a film by the talented filmmaker himself. Often, a film that has such complex characters can fail if the filmmaker cannot make the chaos organized – but Anurag succeeds and how.
The music is the perfect complement to the film, as the characters go through their own emotions and layered feelings. What is important is the film delves into exploring areas of weaknesses and confusion, in a time in which social media makes everyone look perfect. That is exactly why someone like Rumi is so relatable, so real, so raw. With editing by Aarti Bajaj, the film does absolute wonders.
While Taapsee has many a good films to her credit, this one far exceeds any previous performances. As Abhishek Bachchan said in an interview with us, Taapsee is, in fact, born to play Rumi. One cannot separate Taapsee from Rumi, and vice-versa. Vicky is, no surprise, fantastic – it was refreshing to see him in this kind of character this year. But whoever had lost hope that Abhishek would keep doing frivolous cinema, can sit up straight and hope again. The man we saw in Guru, the man we saw in Paa, the man we saw in Bunty Aur Babli, is back again, and with a bang!
Abhishek Bachchan is the true hidden gem in this film – his character, at first blush, seems saintly, but the depth with which he shows his nuanced layers is mind-boggling. When his character finally breaks down, it touches you.
I haven’t seen a good romantic drama in a long time – that is, until Manmarziyaan. The film helps us re-define and re-adjust our lens on “acceptable” social behaviour and makes us realize that the turmoil many of us face on a day-to-day basis is much more suppressed than it should be.