As a cheeky hint, the film begins with a song that calls out the various shades of grey in modern love. This occurs as we see Vicky jump across rooftops to get to Rumi's room, where they make love as Rumi's sister stands guard against the door, ready to warn them if any elderly from the household was to come that way. Rumi and Vicky lust and long for each other, she is forced to get married by the household, Vicky is not ready yet, in comes an NRI groom who falls for Rumi and is ready to give her time. All hell breaks loose.
If this sounds a bit tropy, maybe it is. But with "Manmarziyaan", Kanika Dhillon takes a love triangle and opens the pandora's box wide open. As another cheeky lyric goes, this is an update on the tropes. Her interest here is in understanding the different layers, the intentions, and the circumstances that define modern love in the Indian context. This aligns with Anurag Kashyap's ever-growing penchant for exploring the dark corners of the human mind and heart. Together they weave a riotous narrative of three souls determined to burn themselves in love. Taapsee Pannu is the embodiment of this whole shebang - a firebrand, outshining everything and everyone else in this outfit. Vicky Kaushal is an impressive counterpoint, whose taking beautiful strides in his career, with the nuance getting better with each role.
Yet, "Manmarziyaan" does not get a dark treatment. Dhillon and Kashyap are not only just interested in the issues of people, but also their niceties - all that makes them tick in the first place. The film, for all its moments of despair, is peppered with moments of people being earnest, sincere, and loving. Maybe people aren't great at enunciating their emotions, so we get a whopping 14 song soundtrack, with marvellous lyrics by Shellee - all reciting an underlying story that the characters probably cannot say out loud. Amit Trivedi delivers music to adorn and adore these lyrics - a stonker of a soundtrack. To top it all, Kashyap's treatment of the film uses this music, and to my surprise, even dancing, to give the film oodles of heart, and there in lies the film's biggest win!
The film is out in theaters now.
Call me by your name
If paths were to align, there is passion and love, a hurried cascade of affection for the other one
A Quiet Place
What deserves dwelling upon is how the film works as a Rube Goldberg machine, a wonderful contraption