A few years ago, comedians Kanan Gill and Biswa Kalyan Rath stormed into pop culture with their "Pretentious Movie Reviews" segment. Apart from the hilarious ways they critiqued Bollywood movies, their show was also marked by how they awarded titles like "Most Values Ever" (Hum Saath Saath Hain
) and "Most Suroor Ever" (Aap Kaa Suroor
In the same vein, we are going to award the title of "Most Dialoguebaazi Ever" to Marjaavaan. While we didn't have many expectations from Milap Zaveri as either a director or a writer
, we didn't expect him to go overboard in this fashion.
An orphan, Raghu (Sidharth Malhotra) is picked up from the gutters of Mumbai by mafia kingpin Narayan Anna (Nassar), and raised like the latter's own son. Growing up to become the right hand man of this water mafia (with some casual prostitution racketeering thrown in for good measure) boss, Raghu is resented by Narayan's real son, Vishnu (Riteish Deshmukh). Vishnu is just three feet tall, which causes the buff Raghu's close relationship with his father to make him even more insecure.
Enter Zoya (Tara Sutaria), a mute "Kashmir ki kali" who captivates the hapless hero / homicidal henchman Raghu, to the dismay of star bar dancer Aarzoo (Rakul Preet Singh) whose unrequited love escapes through choice shayari. The first half hinges on a predictable twist, and post-intermission begins the revenge drama.
Marjaavaan is a film that belongs to another era, to a time long past. Oh, and we are not talking about the sepia vibes and the dulcet tones of the Maximum City à la Photograph
. This is a masala movie we have seen time and time again, one which Bollywood REALLY needs to let go now. You might as well look up something with Sunny Deol in it from the '90s, and it would be less of a mess.
The movie conveniently does away with dialogues for the lead actress by the virtue of her being unable to speak, while the "side woman", each time she appears on the screen, is basically hero-worshipping the, well, hero. And of course, while Zoya doesn't say anything, it is her purity and her virtuousness that jolts our macho protagonist into leaving a life of crime. Bollywood, repeat after me: women do not exist to fix screwed-up men.
Marjaavaan is strangely fascinated with disabled characters - we have the heroine unable to speak, a man who can't walk, a boy who stutters, and of course the villain who is shy of a few feet. But this doesn't mean that it has any empathy for those characters or their disabilities. Far from it. Hell, the hostility between the hero and the villain can be described as a futile d**k-measuring contest for the most part.
Speaking of dialogues, this movie is chock full of them - most of them original, to their credit, yet cringe-inducing all the same. Almost every character spouts such nonsense, the lines give the unfortunate cast of this farce the unenviable task of constantly battling accusations of over-acting. Solely by going completely ham on them does Riteish Deshmukh's Vishnu manage to pull some of these lines off. Sidharth Malhotra doesn't have the same capability - the script burdens the usually restrained hero with dialogue that makes it very hard to not over-act.
Tara Sutaria has a larger role than in her previous abomination of a movie
, but that isn't saying much. While she isn't arm candy here, she has the equally unattractive job of being the strong, silent woman. But it is Rakul Preet Singh who we feel for the most. She gets absolutely nothing from the script - even her screen time, which far exceeds that of the movie's actual heroine, is termed as an extended cameo. No Sir, the ladies don't get any time to shine here - Marjaavaan is strictly patriarchal.
As for the music, Marjaavaan's soundtrack feels like half of it is remixes of popular old songs, and the other half, item songs. One particular number, which is part of both chunks, is literally the second time "Pyaar Do Pyaar Lo" from Janbaaz has been remixed. Pretty fitting, considering that hardly anything from this movie's plot is original.
Do you want a movie that has both sermons on religious tolerance and gratuitous violence? Do you want a movie that doesn't belong in 2019? Do you want a nice, dark place to sleep with the added benefit of air-conditioning?
If any of the above is what you are looking for, you can totally catch Marjaavaan in the theatres.