Anand L Rai and Himanshu Sharma are two creators who have made some memorable small-town characters. They get the texture of these characters very easily, and even the not-so-great Zero had characters that were fun to watch. Coming to the duo’s new film Atrangi Re, the kind of “celebration” mood Rai and Sharma creates through the characters is pretty much keeping the movie alive. But the peculiar love triangle lacks conviction from the word go. There is a catchy fiction in the film that has excellent scope to create an entertainer. But the writing seems to be confused about whether to go for a “hatke” take or a clichéd one. Thus the end product felt like a spoon-fed children’s film rather than a crazy romantic ride.
Venkatesh Vishwanath Iyer, aka Vishu, was in Bihar only days before his wedding. He was to get married to his dean’s daughter Mandakini. But in Bihar, some people abduct Vishu, and he was forced to marry this girl named Rinku. After marriage, Rinku tells Vishu that he doesn’t have to worry about it. She already has a lover named Sajjad Ali Khan. So the deal was to part ways when they reached Delhi. But things don’t go the way it was planned and what we see is the repercussions of that.
From the trailer itself, it is clear that the film is a love triangle. In these kinds of films, the most challenging part is to convince the viewer about the relationship. The movie needs to pair Vishu and Rinku for the story to move forward. But Anand L Rai can’t compromise on the eccentricity and the song and dance. So we are practically seeing an introverted South Indian rooting for a Bihari girl whose insensitive behavior just ruined his marriage. I know love is difficult to explain, but you shouldn’t take that statement as an excuse to justify a futile relationship. Sajjad’s entry into the film is the major plot twist. But the movie was highly brittle even before that. And thus that Akshay Kumar Character’s discrete appearances weren’t making much of an impact on me because I was already in an unconvinced space.
As Vishu, Dhanush is fine. It’s like a combination of multiple kinds of characters he has portrayed in his filmography. Barring the bad Hindi diction, he was convincing as Vishu. As Rinku, Sara Ali Khan tries her best to be the Anand L Rai heroine. Rinku is not an easy character to crack. The performance has this huge responsibility of making the viewer sympathize with Rinku. But the writing is not really helping her in this aspect. It’s a performance that I would say Sara tried her best. Akshay Kumar plays an extensive cameo as Sajjad. There is a sensible reason for casting him opposite Saif Ali Khan’s daughter.
Off late, the ideas from Himanshu Sharma and Anand L Rai seem to be struggling to handle the second half. They are trying to find the same energy they created in the Tanu Weds Manu saga. But the desire to be colorful, chaotic, and loud results in a story that feels flat on an emotional level. In Atrangi Re, Vishu, played by Dhanush, has this abrupt shift as an extremely romantic guy. But the film never really bothers to show its viewers what triggered him. The broad strokes we feel in the emotional graph of the major characters were the biggest downside for this movie, in my opinion. AR Rahman’s music fits the mood of the film. Pankaj Kumar gives the visuals the desired vibrant feel.
Atrangi Re had the scope to be emotional in multiple ways. But its obsession with being festive in every second takes away the soul from the story and what we get is a movie that fails to be relatable on an emotional level. The whole symbolism in showing the mental health of a character needed a solid base, and Atrangi Retries to take off with too much thrust from a fragile platform.
Its obsession with being festive in every second takes away the soul from the story and what we get is a movie that fails to be relatable on an emotional level.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended