In the complicated lanes of love
- Cast: Abhishek Bachchan, Taapsee Pannu, Vicky Kaushal and Ashnoor Kaur
- Director: Anurag Kashyap
A still from Manmarziyan
Mein teinu pher milangi... wrote Amrita Pritam. Only that teinu needn’t be the same person. Love lives, dies and finds form again and you can find it when you least expect it, in unlikely moments, in different situations and in different beings. Manmarziyan isn’t your regular boy-meets-girl and happily -ever-after love story. After all, expecting straight simple mush from Anurag Kashyap, the maker of dark brooding cinema, would be asking for the impossible. So, even when it’s love, he can only be expected to delve deep, beneath the covers for sure.
The first flush of love you witness is through this pair of lovers, set in gali mohalle of Amritsar —flavoursome and frolicsome. Vicky Sandhu (Vicky Kaushal) and Rumi (Taapsee Pannu) are so into each other that the physical intensity of their feelings throbs and pulsates. Fayar as they call it… lust is love and love is lust and chemistry is the ABC of love if not the culmination. As the two can’t keep their hands off each other, you only believe they are made for each other. But are they?
Vicky is commitment phobic and not quite husband material, which is what by the way the film is called in English. In walks the perfect NRI groom Robbie (Abhishek Bachchan). He is smitten the moment he lays his eyes on Rumi. With eyes wide open he walks into the mess that Rumi and Vicky’s tempestuous relationship is. As the narrative plays ball among the three edges of the triangle, you get many shades of love. At times it is edgy, at others confused and then a bit sloppy too. But Anurag keeps you invested with humour and intelligence. If Vicky’s love is intense and proprietorial, Robbie’s is the stuff fantasies are made of; stoic, dignified, granting woman the freedom to be.
Who would she choose finally, who gets the girl, isn’t such a big question, here as to exactly what she wants or even knows that? Now, here the writer and director are not crystal clear on which way the course of love ought to flow. The twin girls effectively used as a symbolic metaphor refer to many things including perhaps the twin facets of love. But on the surface we see vacillation. The ambiguity that plagues the two lovers gets translated into the film too. But then love and relationships are never a linear equation, its complexity is far too complex to be decoded simply, let alone in a film. The music (Amit Trivedi) and songs do try to deepen the meaning and enhance the underlying beauty of love. Then the galliyan of Amritsar come alive, in familiar and unfamiliar tones.
The same goes for Anurag’s treatment—a mixed bag of predictable and unpredictable, complicated and uncomplicated. Those living in Punjab can immediately relate to the blue haired Vicky aka DJ Sandz. There are so many like him simply whiling away time playing Romeo, hoping to become as famous as a Badshah or an Ammy or a Sukhi E whose look has inspired Kaushal’s hairdo in the film. Kaushal is effective, being a Punjabi and a fine actor that he is, his Punjabi inflections and tenor is bang on. But he is not the scene stealer here. Rather Taapsee as the no-inhibitions gal is; a perfect fit for her sassy part who cares two hoots about what people think. But the real surprise is Abhishek who lends an understated quiet dignity to Robbie. He comes across as perplexingly endearing especially in the scene in which he tells Rumi, ‘you know you can tell me anything’. It’s in moments such as these where Anurag treads a new ground, though sensitive new age guy has surfaced before too in umpteen films (remember Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam). And the bindaas heroine is almost the new prototype.
The climax, too, is both usual and unusual... but what it does tell you is love can change its colour and destination. To start afresh, past has to be alt, control, delete, half way measures never work in love. Only as we go along with the many moods of love, unlike the king of romance Karan Johar who makes our hearts go dhak dhak and our eyes well up every now and then, Anurag’s love doesn’t go for the jugular. Beh gaya hanjuan da dariya...you do not cry bucket full. But Kashyap does make us walk the lanes of love with humour, interest, ambiguity and impact. Go for it...