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Movie Reviews

Posted at: Jul 5, 2019, 7:31 PM; last updated: Jul 5, 2019, 7:31 PM (IST)MOVIE REVIEW - MALAAL

Regrettable overture

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Film: Malaal

  • Cast: Meezaan Jaffrey, Sharmin Sehgal, Sameer Dharmadhikari, Badri Chavan, Ankush Bisht
  • Director: Mangesh Hadawale
Regrettable overture
A still from Malaal

Johnson Thomas

Mangesh Hadawale’s Hindi directorial debut is a remake of the 2004 Tamil language film 7G Rainbow Colony written and directed by Selvaraghavan, which had debutants Ravi Krishna and Sonia Agarwal in lead roles. Hadawale adopts a similar metric for his Hindi remake anointing Meezaan Jaffrey and Sharmin Sehgal (SLB’s sister Bela Sehgal’s daughter) as the lead. The original Tamil film’s Telugu version, and the Bengali and Odia remakes, that came later did flattering business at the box office. And much more than the story, screenplay, treatment or acting, it was composer Yuvan Shankar Raja’s haunting instrumental score which received the maximum accolades.

Hadawale’s film though has an imminently forgettable music score and the storyline and treatment feel archaic. The underlining theme impinging on pure love bringing about a reformation in the street thug has been done to death in films and there’s nothing new here.

Shiva (Meezaan) is a layabout, thug from the Ambewadi neighbourhood who attracts the attention of the local politician goons who hope to use his fiery temperament to achieve their ideological (read parochial) goals. And Shiva is more than eager for the task at hand–to the extent that he is even considering kicking out  new residents, the Tripathis’ from the chawl in which he resides for the simple reason that they originated from UP. Then love strikes; Shiva falls under the spell of Aastha Tripathi (Sharmin) who is studying for CA and is literally engaged to be married to Aditya, a well-off, ‘US returned’, belonging to a prominent and rich family.

The problem with the narration is that it spends more time making the unlikely twosome fall in love before coming up with hurdles that just won’t go away. We’ve heard the reasoning that the dad has had two heart attacks and the daughter doesn’t want to be responsible for his death—again a thousand times in so many other romantic films and it’s become such a bore that we’ve stopped believing in such silly excuses. The class difference, differences in educational backgrounds and social graces are the real problems here. Aastha comes from a once-affluent upper-middle-class background while Shiva is an intemperate, son-of-the-soil progeny whose lowly middle-class status is not something easily overcome. The 'romance' set-up employs the usual stereotypical tropes while an ingratiating score taps on emotion. Both Meezaan and Sharmin appear a little awkward and stiff while performing. Meezaan has an eye-pleasing screen presence though. The direction is uninspired even if it is adapted. This love story will find a hard time engaging even the diehard romantics!

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