MIRZYA Movie Review: Unbearable balderdash of referenced visuals & cantankerous singing

It’s a classic case of how an accomplished and seasoned Bollywood bullshit (BS) artiste like Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra successfully peddled the idea of this extravaganza to an idiot of a producer, easily overwhelmed by big names of the industry. Let me add here that to survive in Bollywood or Hollywood or any film industry, you must first learn the art of bull shitting with absolute conviction. If the ratio of BS and Truth is less than 90:10, chances of your success are dim.

Rohit Khattar, the producer, had no idea of the crooked ways of Bollywood though his film-obsessed ex-boss Anand Mahindra had already burnt his fingers and hard-earned millions of his family business in his super-flop Mumbai Mantra enterprise. Khattar was finally delivered this self-indulgent balderdash of a story as ancient and dead as an Egyptian mummy, decked in referenced visuals and all kinds of theatrical stylebaazi with National School of Drama (NSD) influences. It is served with the generous helping of cantankerous singing, purloined background score and the preposterous lyrics, dialogues, and screenplay written by none other than Gulzar Sahab. It would have been some comical scenario when the Dada Sahab Phalke Awardee was narrating this Romeo & Juliet/ Mirza Sahiban crap, particularly the opening scene of the film, in his thick baritone and PRONOUNCEDLY impeccable Urdu to an awestruck and open-mouthed Khattar who could not have realised that Mehra and Gulzar Sahab उसकी खाट खड़ी करने वाले हैं।

It’s the story of star-crossed lovers, replete with fantastically stupid metaphors. For instance a woman in black Wahabi burqa comes to deliver a message to the heroine and the background song refers to the imagery of a black crow bringing a message. This is Gulzar’s poetic genius at it ludicrous best.  The story sizzles with the heat of the desert and freezes with the coldness of icy mountains. Two versions, ice age and contemporary, of a love story are juxtaposed to make a metaphoric statement, ‘Nothing changes. Clannish mindset existed then, and it exists today.’ That’s my learned and ‘smart’ interpretation of Gulzar’s screenwriting subterfuge to turn a short story into a long headache and provide ample scope to Mehra to be able to showcase his film-faking prowess.

The sum and substance of the contemporary track is that there is a kid called Munish who lives in Jodhpur. He has a loyal friend in Suchitra. Both go to school and ride bicycles together. To save Munish from corporal punishment, Suchi passes off her homework as his to the teacher. The teacher punishes Suchi. Munish does not like it. He steals the pistol of Suchi’s father, a police officer, and kills the teacher with one shot. The little chit of a fellow has the physical strength to hold the heavy antique piece & shoot straight is one of those cinematic liberties Bollywood bullshitters can take with impunity. He is punished & sent to a remand home but he runs away from there to Jaipur or Udaipur.

He is brought up by a Muslim ironsmith, played by the despicable slithery stinking pig, the drunkard and debauch, Om Puri, who recently talked shit about our brave army jawaans. Munish grows into a man as Aadil (Harshvardhan Kapoor). He looks after the stable and stud farm of the erstwhile king who has a son, call him Prince, to be betrothed to Suchitra (Saiyami Kher) who is studying abroad and her father is now the Police Commissioner.  She returns. Her wedding is announced. Aadil knows her as his childhood friend/love. She does not. She learns it soon. And now we have the triangular romance situation. Suchitra is the heroine, Prince is the villain and poor Aadil the hero. Gulzar Sahab terms it as a river caught between two ‘िकनारे’ (riverbanks). वाह, वाह, what a metaphor, एक नदी अौर दो िकनारे। गुलजार साहब अौर उनका अटका हुअा record।

The modern tale is interspersed with the ancient story of Mirza Sahiban, of an era when people used bows and arrows and indulged in ‘dhamakedaar’ clay pigeon shooting with arrows in an icy terrain. Both the tracks converge and culminate tragically. Now, every two minutes during the interplay of these parallel universes, we have song and dance interruptions, with a screaming and screeching Daler Mehdi trying to wake the swooning audience up and semi-clad female dancers jumping up and down under low-key lights and displaying their bare bellies.  Gulzar Sahib also fulfills his long ambition to write a musical like Heer-Ranjha to achieve ‘Moksha’, the exalted status of Kaifi Aazami.

The film is well photographed and production designed but it’s referenced work and thus not of much artistic significance. It’s like one of those ‘Marwari’ sweets, with expensive & rare ingredients, good for vanity but bad for heart and intestinal track, absolutely lacking in the unique flavor and taste of original and simple classics like Rosogulla or Barfi.


Rajesh Kumar Singh

@khulkebolo @neelnabh

Directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Produced by Rohit Khattar, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, P.S. Bharathi, Rajiv Tandon, Written by Gulzar, Starring Harshvardhan Kapoor, Saiyami Kher, Anuj Choudhry, Art Malik, K. K. Raina, Om Puri, Anjali Patil, Music by  Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, Cinematography by Paweł Dyllus, Edited by P.S. Bharathi, Production companies are Cinestaan Film Company, & Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra Pictures


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