Love triangles have always been a favorite of Bollywood and what is so refreshing about Anurag Kashyap’s Manmarziyan is the fact that it doesn’t constrain itself into the cage of morality or character sanctity. Through three flawed humane characters, this script by Kanika Dhillon reinvents the genre in a deeply affecting way. By addressing the actual fears in relationships and diving deep into the complexities of certain misunderstandings, Manmarziyan is a coming of age romantic drama that sort of stays with you.
Rumi and Vicky are two jubilant youngsters who are in a relationship. At one point when Rumi’s mother finds out about the relationship and things got serious after that and Rumi is forced to ask Vicky to marry her. Vicky’s fear towards commitment results in Rumi’s wedding with another man, an NRI named Robbie. How this previous relationship plays with the married life of Rumi is what Manmarziyan showing us.
The judgmental attitude of a majority that asserts the burden of morality on love and relationships have diluted our movie concepts about love. Manmarziyan for me marks liberation from such thoughts. It goes after the real need of love beyond the typical commitment and marriage cycle. It is not like we as an audience is in the backseat and the characters are all cool about it. They are also limited by all those factors. But the story evolves so gradually and organically that along with them we also feel that evolvement in the mindset. The film also sheds light on the idea of how a relationship might be genuine and yet not marriage worthy. Maybe that’s the reason why the movie was titled “Husband Material” internationally.
Abhishek Bachchan marks his comeback to the mainstream after a while and I must say that his casting as the Ramji type Robbie was a pretty smart one. You can see Anurag Kashyap shaping up AB’s usual acting style to a more vulnerable level and towards the end Junior Bachchan is at the minimal best in conveying emotions. Taapsee Pannu isn’t trying to give a peculiar outlook to Rumi, but I really loved the way she portrayed the mood swings and shifts of the character without making it look unreal. Vicky Kaushal was the gem here whose transformation to this aimless, intimidated cool DJ was fabulous. His character was such a precarious one that a wrong note in performance could make the entire conflict look stupid and Vicky Kaushal delivers a solid performance.
In the hands of any other director, Manmarziyan would have slipped into that cheesy zone of scenes. But with Anurag Kashyap, you get the sense of his style of improvisation. The characters here have that spontaneity which makes them all the more real. The abusive hyper tone we have seen in certain Anurag Kashyap movies is there, making way for some hilarious conversational bits and at the same time the director respects the silences and uses them so skillfully. The whole climax sequence somewhere reminded me of my personal favorite “before series” of Linklater as it had two individuals talking freely about multiple things and the camera was just tracking them. I would say that sequence in a way simply explains the purpose of the whole script written by Kanika Dhillon. Manmarziyan is exploring the complexity of true love and also giving it a better definition. The Ramji type Robbie at times is dragging the movie a bit towards that cheesy zone, but still, there is an attraction to the story. Sylvester Fonseca’s frames aren’t giving us the vibe of seeing an Anurag Kashyap film. He plays with colors, shadows and there are moments the camera pans in a big way to give us the depth of the emotional intensity (The scene where Robbie comes out of Vicky’s house was one such scene). Aarti Bajaj has chiseled it neatly. 53 minutes of quality fresh music is there composed by Amit Trivedi and Kashyap has managed to place it in excerpts to make the narrative exciting and engaging.
Manmarziyan has so many layers of a subtle breaking of conventions. It isn’t at all loud about its progressiveness and that is the major plus of this coming of age love story. If you can surrender yourself to the narrative it can help you in being less judgmental.
By addressing the actual fears in relationships and diving deep into the complexities of certain misunderstandings, Manmarziyan is a coming of age romantic drama that sort of stays with you.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended