Mirzya review: A colourful rendition of Shakespeare in Rajasthan
Cast: Harshvardhan Kapoor, Saiyami Kher, Anuj Choudhary
Director: Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra
Et tu, Brute! (You too, Brutus)
A would be brideís drunk father says. The girl seems far away from any sort of remorse. A silent war is happening between the two. The father has already lost, but he wonít accept it. The daughter isnít a winner either, but the feeling is yet to sink in. Ironically, the person pulling all the strings in this tussle isnít one of them.
Two school kids in Jodhpur are inseparable. The girl isnít concerned about the boyís humble roots. They are happy until a tragedy befalls. Probably they would never see each other again. But, it isnít a tragedy to remember if it doesnít give a chance to rise and redeem.
So, they meet again in Udaipur after some years. Theyíre Princess Suchitra (Saiyami Kher) and horse trainer Aadil (Harshvardhan Kapoor) now. Suchiís marriage with Prince Karan (Anuj Choudhary) is impending, and itís going to be an affair to remember.
Gulzar is back to screenplay writing after 17 years. His last was Hu Tu Tu in 1999. He chooses to depend on a Ďsutradharí (the narrator). Sometimes, itís a voiceover, sometimes itís a group of tribal women.
The women wear colourful clothes and dance to the song reflecting the protagonistsí mental states.
Add to it Shankar Ehsaan Loyís music that reflects the ecstatic pain of love and takes the narration forward.
They arenít directly related to this love-story, but they understand the universal language of affection and empathy.
Director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra creates a surreal world here. He experiments with his time warp film. He is confident about his storytelling technique. He has used it effectively in Rang De Basanti and Bhaag Milkha Bhaag.
And he is willing to add more drama. Like a stage play. Amidst colour blasts and oiled bodies. Super slow motion shots are his tools, and he frequently features them. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loyís songs are whet he needs. Together, they form an ethereal haze which invites you to get lost in the mist.
You donít mind if Gulzarís couplets cover almost the entire film. They are beautifully written and fantastically captured by the cinematographer Pawel Dyllus.
Also, a predictable story requires such gimmicks. We know Mirza-Sahibaanís saga, one of Punjabís most famous folklores. The interest was around how Mehra presents it, and he nails it, but what about intercuts to the real-time story?
In this part, he doesnít have the luxury of Zack Snyderís 300 like graphics, or saturated colours, or booming background score. The lead actorsí performances are his prime savior, so giving them less dialogues appears like a wise decision. It helps in escalating the tension too.
However, the undercurrent of a passionate love never reaches the surface. Despite gloss and technical wizardry, the audience fails to feel the pain. It becomes tough for them to root for anybody. You keep watching everything from a distance.
From placement of props to every characterís marking, Mirzya shows some technical finesse. Itís shot with poetic sensibilities, but thatís probably not enough to stir the audienceís soul.
Harshvardhan Kapoor has decided to debut with an unconventional film, and he gets noticed. He underplays it, still leaves his impression in shots where he is alone on the frame. Saiyami Kher looks mysterious as Sahibaan, but somehow the other sides of her personality donít come out.
You feel for Anuj Choudhary. His character doesnít get time to switch gears. His transitions are too fast, but he does it with complete submission. A princeís carefully worn humility to dejected anger, he displays a range of emotions, leaving us wanting for more.
This 135-minute Shakespearean drama is visually impressive, but lacks the essence of a heart wrenching love-story. Itís a period drama trying hard to be a musical. And music? Probably the best in last couple of years.