Manmarziyaan movie review: Taapsee Pannu stands out, trying to work past the clichéd role.

Manmarziyaan movie cast: Abhishek Bachchan, Vicky Kaushal, Taapsee Pannu
Manmarziyaan movie director: Anurag Kashyap
Manmarziyaan movie rating: 2 stars

Anurag Kashyap has created a new word. For decades, Bollywood has been using ‘pyaar-vyaar’ in stories and songs, most often used along with ‘dil-vil’. If it is a love story, then it is a compendium of ‘dil-vil-pyaar-vyaar’, most often used with ‘main kya jaanoo re’?

In Manmarziyaan, his pair of young lovers are conflicted about ‘pyaar’, but there are no confusions when it comes to ‘fyaar’, a short-cut denoting a tumble-among-the-sheets.

None of Bollywood’s hypocrisies about let’s-not-get-physical: Vicky (Kaushal) and Rumi (Pannu) are hungry for each other, displaying vigor and giggles in bed, leaping across ‘chajjas’ and ‘chhats’ in Amritsar to steal time together. Yes, this is ‘fyaar’, and Vicky and Rumi keep each other busy, the girl reaching out for the boy as much as the other way round. In other words, there is refreshing, welcome honesty about not being able to keep their hands off each other, or what’s young love for?

This, being able to show lovers combusting, is Kashyap’s strength. What he is doing in Manmarziyaan (one girl, two boys) is inverting the triangle he had set up in Dev D (one boy, two girls), and for a while we are swept up in the whole Amritsar setting, the Golden temple scenes, the authentic Punjabi tongue, the excellent supporting cast, and, at the heart of it, Kaushal and Pannu’s playing of lovers-who-can’t-live-with-and–without-each-other.

What gets annoying too soon is the same pair’s going round and round in circles: I’m tired of Bollywood’s commitment-phobic young men, who are up for a bit of the down-and-dirty, but cannot, or will not, ‘settle down’. Is there no other kind of male lover?

The other problem is that both Vicky and Rumi are playing ‘types’. He is the hot-head-wannabe-rocker-with-a-rad-haircut who is constantly doing the finger-and-yo act. She is the head-strong-`haazir-jawaab’ young girl who is not afraid of anything and anyone. And the third angle of this triangle is Robbie (Bachchan), the steady, sober type, who has come to claim his ‘dulhaniya’.

Pannu stands out, trying to work past the clichéd role. This is the first time the excellent Kaushal is not able to make character his own: fresh off Sanju, this is a disappointment. And Bachchan’s Robbie, fashioned as an antidote to the mercurial Rumi, reminds you so strongly of Ajay Devgn’s part in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam that it’s hard to separate them. A couple of the songs are good too, perfectly matching the tone of the movie, but finally there are too many of them.

Which is what one can say about the film. You want to shake these lovers and ask them to make up their mind, quick. You enjoy the initial exhilaration born out of breathless passion as the winsome boy and girl engage in the age-old dance of desire. And then they become exhausting. As does the film.

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