Anurag Kashyap’s first full-on love story, Manmarziyaan is also the first film that the director has made from a screenplay not authored by him. He, however, loses no opportunity to inject an exaggeratedly campy style into the genre and juggle with its time-tested conventions to deliver a film that is fun for the most part. Well, almost.
Manmarziyaan, scripted by novelist Kanika Dhillon and dedicated to Amrita Pritam, hits the ground running. It keeps running without let. As a result, the film is often a touch breathless as the female protagonist, played with delightful aplomb by Taapsee Pannu, vacillates wildly between a lusty, commitment-phobic lover and a sedate, unflappable NRI banker whose life she enters, leaves and re-enters on the rebound times without number.
Rumi – yes, that is her name but she doesn’t bring any Sufi subtlety to the expression of sexual desire – isn’t as unlike other Bollywood heroines as she might seem at first flush. She, too, eventually seeks validation for her little rebellions from the men in her life, which includes a spirited grandfather who has been her anchor since the untimely death of her parents. But Pannu informs the charming character with a high degree of vivacity. It’s infectious. It serves as the film’s prime propellant.