What also braces some moments is Parineeti’s rendition of a few of these songs in a voice, which is fresh and original.
Cast: Ayushmann Khurrana, Parineeti Chopra
Director: Akshay Roy
In one of the most crucial scenes of this Suprotim Sarkar written and Akshay Roy directed film, Meri Pyaari Bindu, the hero — an accidental horror story writer — claims penning a horror story is far more challenging than writing a love story!
He is right — even making a love story is far more demanding than weaving an entertaining narrative in any other genre, for the simple reason that the romantic liaison between a boy and a girl has been done to death. And each time, barring a few times you could count on your fingertips, Bollywood has tried making one in the recent past, it has invariably botched up miserably. Not because of nay lack of ideas, but due to unimaginative treatment!
When Abhimanyu Roy alias Bubla (Ayushmann Khurrana) decides to return to his roots in Kolkata to write more meaningful literature, he zeroes in on a love story he has been working on for three years. This time around his focal point is none other than his friend and neighbour — the restless unpredictable and feisty Bindu (Parineeti Chopra) for whom he continues to carry a torch. He is in a fix though, and nothing seems to help him get over his writer’s block. Things don’t seem to be working right for him: Bindu has ditched him, and disappeared, and having taken advance from the publisher, the literary agent too is in a hurry. To make matters worse, his parents want him to get married and are too eager to show him eligible girls.
So, what’s new, here? Nothing much. Save perhaps, the climax, which attempts to be a tad different.
I keep my reviews more-or-less spoiler free, but I can’t not address this — while she has moved on having failed to make it big as a professional singer, he has not been able to wipe out her memory. His hankering after Bindu even after several setbacks, and Bindu playing the elusive fantasy, which keeps slipping away, needed strong characterisation to keep the viewers engaged throughout.
The writer lets the audience know that for grown-up relationships “perfect” is never perfect. Where he falters is in his tonal shifts that may not be jarring, but serve no thematic purpose. Keeping in mind the generation that creates its own smart lingo with each passing day, and who obviously he is trying to target, the writer highlights smart lines far too often but forgets to flesh out the lead pair, or their roles.
To me, it all seemed like a cop-out. There’s also the trouble that just like the director doesn’t know where and how to take the story forward, the audience too, wonders: Where is it headed?
The film flirts with preciousness and has more fun with its premise and is actually trying hard to infuse some real essence of love. As a result, the lead characters are uncertain in their commitment for each other, and vacillate unendingly in the first half of the film. The film also tries to address serious issues in a relationship rather playfully — which has worked in quite a few films earlier — but here, while you admire the look and performances, and some interesting ideas, everything feels muted and predictable and lacks spark.
The final resolution of the plot is actually rather intriguing, but the journey to it is so foreseeable that most moviegoers will have long since lost interest.
What looks unusual are locales set in Kolkata, though someone please tell Mumbai and Bengali filmmakers not to follow the sameness of props — Tagore’s picture hung on the wall, the huge double-bed sprawled across in a middle class setting or the Howrah Bridge; there’s more to Kolkata than these stereotypical representations.
Taking a look at a common trope, what could have been an extremely engaging film with an interesting premise, remains wishful thinking. The lead pair’s mutual chemistry, which is just about good, doesn’t burn, and hence, their performances suffer. Ayushmann Khurana is limited by the demands of the script and ends up repeating himself in almost every film. So does Chopra. Aparajita Adhya and Rajatava Dutta are great as Bubla’s parents.
What also works are some great old time hits of the ’60s which I am sure everyone, including today’s generation, loves to revisit from time to time. What also braces some moments is Parineeti’s rendition of a few of these songs in a voice, which is fresh and original.
The writer is a film critic and has been reviewing films for over 15 years. He also writes on music, art and culture, and other human interest stories.