There have been legendary love stories of Laila Majnu, Heer Ranjha, Romeo and Juliet brought to life on screen by filmmakers all across the world. Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra tries his hand at telling the mystical love story of Mirza- Sahiban through the eyes of contemporary lovers. Mirzya doesn't have the nuts and bolts of a typical Bollywood film. It has the song and dance routine, but it's done differently, there is very little chest thumping and dialogue baazi and no item song or gimmick to make the film appeal to a broader audience. The promos have been indicative of the texture and fabric of Mirzya. The songs and our interactions with the debutant actors Harshvardhan Kapoor and Saiyami Kher sounded really intriguing with the way they spoke about their magnum opus. But is Mirzya worth the hype?
What's it about
Mehra starts the film with a robust visual of men riding horses with their faces covered in black scarves. Our hero Mirzya (Harshavardhan) gets one of the most stylised introductory scenes in recent times. Saiyami Kher, standing under a tree surrounded by men guarding her, throws a glance at our hero as the sky lights up with fireballs and piercing arrows. Just when this vivid image lingers in your mind, Mehra cuts his frame to the modern day setting of Jodhpur where a young Suchitra and Monish begin their love story. Harshavardhan and Saiyami have two different looks throughout the film, defining the distinct worlds they belong to. Do they serve any purpose? Does the love story manage to hold our interest? And does the music, which has a very large part to play in this movie, make the experience melodious or jarring ? Let's find out ...
Mehra has gone for the kill as far as visuals are concerned. He doesn't hold back in a single frame and lights the whole screen up with imagery and shades that are bold and extremely eye catchy. The way the camera just hovers over the sand dunes or the VFX laden Mirzya world are both equally fantastic. Mirzya could make for an excellent comic book if it wanted to use these story board graphics to tell the story in a different format. Leepakshi and Niharika who are responsible for creating these two distinct looks do a fantastic job in giving these characters the Colors and fabrics they require. Background score adds up to the drama at the right moments. Coming to the most important question - how good are the debutants? Honestly, they both deserved a better film to showcase their talents, but given the constraints of the technique and format, they do their best. Harshvardhan manages to stir your interest in his interpretation of Mirzya. It's not so much the facial hair or the props but the yearning in his eyes to deliver and that hunger to give everything in every scene. He needs to work a lot on his screen presence and diction, perhaps a bit of body language as well, but despite the hiccups, his take on bringing his director's vision alive is honest and sincere. Saiyami has unconventional looks and they work in her favour. Her scenes with Harshvardhan in the second half stand out. The fact that these two are newcomers gives their pairing an edge.
Mehra's biggest flaw in the film is his technique and narrative. The concept of two worlds, two parallel timelines, two different characters just doesn't work. There are moments when you are drawn into the fantasy Mirzya world and want to stay there a bit longer, but a song or a background score comes out of nowhere taking you back into the real world. Neither here nor there, the film ends up being a case of too much flavour can sometimes spoil a good dish. Also Mehra doesn't give Harshavardhan or Saiyami any big scene or moment to play up. Instead there are fleeting moments that have some spark. I can't think of one big stand out scene in such a long film. The songs are great, but were they required at such regular intervals? The awkwardness between switching from one world to another finally gets to you and there is very little damage control that a director can do in his last 20 minutes. Mirzya despite being a hardcore love story doesn't draw touch any emotional chord, because the emphasis is so much on the format and technical aspects that the writing takes a major backseat.
What to do
Mirzya is a visual masterpiece, but one only hoped that it had a narrative that promised an equally brilliant premise. Watch it to usher in two newcomers Harshvardhan Kapoor and Saiyami Kher who fortunately have follow up films that hopefully do more justice to their skills.
2.0 out of 5
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