Starring Abhimanyu Dassani, Sanya Malhotra
Directed by Vivek Soni
This could have been a lovely story of a newly-married couple groping its way through the new experience, finding themselves stranded in the journey and then coming back together. Initially Meenakshi Sundareshwar reminded me of Basu Chatterjee’s Piya Ka Ghar where the problem faced by the newlyweds was quite simple: privacy.
This one goes for more. In trying to wind its way through the newly weds’ adjustment problems, the plot ties itself up into knots. Soon we are watching a film about a Tamilian couple from Madurai who are incompatible because… ummm.. she loves Rajinikant (first day first show) and he hates movies(they put him to sleep). Okay, too minor a reason for marital discord? Then try this: he has to move to Bengaluru for a job leaving his new bride behind with his family(no ogres there, no conflict) and he must pretend to be single because that’s what the Bengaluru boss wants.
I am not too sure why the boss wants the hero to stay single. But like Jeetendra in Jeene Ki Raah, Sundareshwar(Abhimanyu Dassani) must lead a double life. Wife Meenakshi (Sanya Malhotra) drops in at his Bengaluru office unannounced. Some running around trying to hide and lie, etc etc.
It all gets repetitive, tedious and worse, still, uninvolving. I started off caring deeply for the couple. Their first meeting where they quiz one another on their likes and dislikes, is vivid and vivacious. So is the suhaag raat sequence where Meenakshi explains to her clueless husband why both of them need to have milk with haldi: “Scootie chalaane ke liye dono tyre mein hawa honi chahiye.”
Both Abhimanyu and Sanya are invested into their characters, he more than she. Sanya, I feel, has begun to get repetitive in her no-bullshit-no-kidding roles. Here she plays another version of her feisty wife’s role from Pagglait. If, God forbid, Sundareshwar were to die suddenly, Meenakshi would behave exactly like the wife in Paglaitt.
And why for, Rajini-God’s sake, must Meenakshi be a Rajinikanth fanatic who breaks into a violent dance in the aisles first day first show? Sundareshwar loves his wife’s Rajini turn. I suspect he is a man who doesn’t demand much in life. Playing this well-meaning but dull husband couldn’t have been easy for Abhimanyu. The young actors nails it. From the walk to the talk…this is a brilliant impersonation of an inexperienced householder on a par with Shashi Kapoor in The Householder.
Come to think of it, finally Abhimanyu is the only reason why this film is not a complete washout. Some of the other actors, acting as stereotypes pretending not to be stereotypes are interesting once in a while, though the influence of Sooraj Barjatya’s Vivah is strong on them. In Vivah the hero’s elder brother has a fetish for newspapers. Here is it ras-malai. Either way, you are looking at a film which doesn’t have an appetite for too much conflict or drama. It’s a breezy watch. Nothing to sway us into submission.