Starring: Dhanush, Sara Ali Khan & Akshay Kumar
Directed by Aanand L Rai
Atrangi Re, the best film Aanand Rai has made since Tanu Weds Manu, left me in a swirl of feelings at the end. The one certainty that I came away with is this: we have never seen anything like this before. Writer Himanshu Sharma has penned a paean to that weird thing called love. There is pleasure and pain in that paean and there are couple of startling twists in the tale of twisted love which made me thankful for the certainty that art offers. There is no complication that cannot be fixed.
Original hai, boss! Ekdum original. Akshay Kumar plays Sajjad a hero like never before.He is hero-worshipped by Sara Ali Khan’s feisty Bihari avatar Rinku in a way we’ve never seen before. Rinku’s love for Sajjad re-defines that whole commodious place where the Indian rom-com loves to bask, but hardly ever gets it right.
This one does, and how! Every time Sara’s Rinku runs to hurl herself into Sajjad’s warm embrace a thousand unseen flowers bloom in the horizon. But sorry, the real hero of the film is not Sajjad. It is Vishu, the Tamilian softhearted doctor(who I suspect is Tamilian only because he’s played by the director’s favourite actor the Tamilian Dhanush). He is A kidnapped groom who learns only too soon that coercion is the steppingstone to acceptance.
Early in the plot Vishu shows himself to be heroic beyond the cinematic definition of the word. There is a botched-up engagement ceremony where Rinku is abused by the hosts. Vishu takes her hand and says, ‘Shaadi zabardasti hui hai lekin biwi hai.’ It is one of the most heroic moments I’ve seen in any recent film.
Towards the end when one lie could have solved a very complex psychological situation,Vishu sticks to the truth. But it’s a very strange truth about a lie that Rinku has been living with since her childhood.
Atrangi Re is a wondrous unpredictable journey into the heart of love. It is skillfully written and delicately directed by a man who recognizes the nobility in every human being. This a story of enormous sacrifices . There are episodes where we the audience don’t know whether to laugh or cry. It is also a deep-dive into mental trauma and illness brought on by events in the past that leave a deep scar.
This is eventually a film about healing, filled with hope, sunshine, and laughter, Atrangi Re is a terrific way to end the year. When the end-credits rolled I had tears in my eyes. Aanand Rai ends his exhilarating love triangle by sharing the directorial credits with composer A R Rahman(watch out for the heartbreaking Tumhein mohabbat hai), lyricist Irshad Kamil,and writer Himanshu Sharma.
Only a generous spirit could make a film as large-hearted as Atrangi Re. I wish Aanand Rai had controlled Sara Ali Khan’s exuberance. She tends to go over the top. And that’s not where the fragile emotions of this film rest their head.