Starring: Ruslaan, Hazel
Director: Robby Grewal
From the director of the dark thriller Samay, Robby Grewal, comes this completely different movie. In a time when offbeat movies have become the norm, Mera Pehla Pehla Pyar (MP3) dares to follow the old formula of a simple high school romance. And this makes it different. Ironic how these things work, isn’t it? The way it was nicknamed mp3, a popular music format, reflects the fact that the movie takes into account today’s youth and the way they think and act. Although the world has advanced, emotions are just as sensitive as they were before — even more so, for real love is hard to distinguish in an era of one-night stands. And in this new, changed setting begins an age old story — boy meets girl.
Rohan (Ruslaan) is your typical high school jock — sports, friends, and pranks make up his world. He is not a chocolate hero, in the sense that he does not pretend to be a perfect, all-around good boy. On the day the movie begins, he is late as usual. After disturbing and sneaking out in a math class, he runs across Ayesha (Hazel), the new girl on the block. Using her naivety to his advantage, he uses her as a shield to hide from the principal.
As luck would have it, Ayesha turns out to be Rohan’s mom’s friend’s daughter (it’s long, but uncomplicated). Unlike other romances, there are no problems with the parents – both sides are pretty chilled out, even encouraging, about the relationship. The romance advances in a cute manner, with both of them denying their relation and insisting they are simply friends, while Rohan’s friends tease him mercilessly. Finally, when it seems the two have finally admitted their feelings and everything is dandy, Ayesha leaves for a holiday in France. Unfortunately, the night before, the two fought and due to circumstantial situations, were unable to make up.
What follows is a well-done rendition of Rohan acquiring a ticket, passport, visa, and money to go to Paris. His friends, whose characters are developed just enough throughout the movie, pull through for him. The rest of the story plays out in Paris. This author, however, doesn’t want to give more of the plot away (although there is little of it). One thing that can definitely be said for the movie is that it is well-paced. There is no over dramatization, but the characters have their share of realistic problems — little misunderstandings and small spats.
Unfortunately, the title song used to promote the movie does not occur within the movie even once. The other songs are not anything incredible. However, they are placed well within the movie and emphasize the feel of youthfulness and bring with it the complexities, anxieties, and desires of first love.
With a fresh face and a schoolboy appearance, Ruslaan is the new kid on the block and he is probably going to stay. In this role, he’s confident before the camera. Although I cannot say he is comfortable, I realize this is because his character is awkward and it was him sticking to his part throughout the movie that caused it so. And as a young girl, I can say his character is extremely endearing — all girls want a mischievous but sweet Rohan of their own by the end of the movie.
His complement and the female lead of the movie, Hazel, plays her part well. Despite not being exceptionally pretty, she is the cute, sincere, generally all-around nice girl. Her character is the exact opposite of Rohan’s, yet exactly what he needs. You know what they say, opposites attract. Hazel remains in character throughout, and if she proves to be versatile, she could well have a decent career ahead of her.
Director Grewal develops the characters of the leads well, but the characters of the friends and family just as well. Each character has a certain quirk, a certain defining characteristic that makes you accept them as real. They are sprinkled with faults, which make them even more believable. Humor is not the strongest point of the movie, but Rohans’ friends provide a few good laughs. Some of Rohan and Ayesha’s near-misses are slightly frustrating, but it all evens out in the end.
MP3 does not pretend to be anything that it isn’t — and that is the saving grace. It’s a sweet teen romance that draws on the exceptional performances of the newcomers. While the script does not offer anything brand new, the movie is a breath of fresh air in a market filled with intense drama or offbeat movies trying to outdo each other.