‘Marjaavaan’ movie review: Death by masala film

Sidharth Malhotra in ‘Marjaavaan’  

Marjaavaan is an oddly structured film. From the beginning till the interval there is a “movement” which makes the first half a complete film in itself. In fact, that’s where director Milap Zaveri should have shouted “cut” and wrapped it up. The second half is utterly pointless, inane and unbearable and therefore eminently avoidable. Not that it makes the first half seem like Citizen Kane in comparison. Far from it. A deliberate throwback to the 80s masala genre, the film is eventually nothing more than a random stringing together of scattered scenes. Verbal confrontations alternate with elaborately staged fight sequences. Every conversation is bombastic, the wordplay irritating with characters throwing dialogues at each other. Sample: “Todunga bhi aur tod phod ke jodunga bhi”, “Maarunga kanpati pe, dard hoga Ganpati pe”. Rain and slo-motion shots are used to give the impression of slickness to the action scenes, where actually there is none.

  • Director: Milap Zaveri
  • Cast: Riteish Deshmukh, Sidharth Malhotra, Tara Sutaria, Rakul Preet Singh, Nassar
  • Storyline: A henchman is caught between his love for an innocent, young girl, his loyalty for the local mafia don and his rivalry with the don’s son
  • Run time: 135 minutes

Zaveri uses every available trope of the 80s Hindi cinema, right down to women being confined to the margins and the evocation of communal harmony with token Muslim figures, swinging between being loyal friends or betrayers who are given the chance to return to the fold by the large-hearted hero. Why, there’s even a character called Mazhar who harks back to Mazhar Khan in Shaan. There is some chatter about Hindu-Muslim unity and the fights play out to Hanuman Chalisa alternating with Muslim prayers. All of it staged and orchestrated than organic while the world remains largely majoritarian. Violence is all pervasive, law and order and the cops are pushed to the corner. In the midst of this, Zaveri tries to contemporise things just a wee bit with a reference to Kashmir.

In a nutshell, the film is about a henchman (Sidharth Malhotra) caught between his love for an innocent, young girl (Tara Sutaria), his loyalty for the local mafia don (Nassar) and his rivalry with the don’s vertically challenged son (Riteish Deshmukh). Zaveri sticks to rendering characters into “types” than personalities throbbing with any complexities. Nassar tries hard to give gravitas to the proceedings, Sutaria is sweet and listless and keeps smiling and weeping alternately. Malhotra is a terrible fit for the action role. It’s hard to let go of disbelief seeing him wrench a pipe out of the ground. This is the kind of stuff better left to Sunny Deol. The matchstick in the mouth is eminently Rajinikanth. And pray, what was the point in dwarfing Deshmukh other than have him mouth some infantile lines that play on “height”.

Marjaavaan is loud, overcooked and overdone. Turgid and tedious it just passes you by, without you caring for anyone or anything on the big screen.

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Printable version | Mar 4, 2021 11:12:28 PM |

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