Mirzya reviews: What critics have to say about Harshvardhan, Saiyami debut

Here is what popular publications and critics are saying about Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s latest directorial venture.

Our Correspondent

Starring Harshvardhan Kapoor and Saiyami Kher, director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s Mirzya, retells the legendary love story of Sahiban and Mirza. The film has been written by Gulzar with cinematography by Pawel Dyllus.

Many critics, including Ken Jaworowski of The New York Times has praised the cinematography and camera work. “Still, a brutally beautiful and tragic ending, and fine performances from the three lead actors, are enough reason to watch. Sampooran Singh Kalra’s [Gulzar] script, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s direction and Pawel Dyllus’s cinematography are unabashedly romantic, featuring long, lush shots of horseback riding, scenic vistas and desert sands.”

Rohit Vats of Hindustan Times writes, “You don’t mind if Gulzar’s couplets cover almost the entire film. They are beautifully written and fantastically captured by the cinematographer Pawel Dyllus.”

Meena Iyer of Times of India writes, "Though not a musical in the literal sense, the songs take the story forward in ballet style. The visuals of the chorus dancers dressed in bright Rajasthani costumes is breath-taking."

Film critic Bhawana Somaaya said the film was a must-watch for its music, Gulzar’s writing and Mehra’s vision. “There are three reasons why you must watch Mirzya. The first, music: Composers Shankar Ehsaan Loy combined with lyricist Gulzar present an immortal score. Second, it marks the return of Gulzar as a screenplay writer after Hu tu tu/1990 which is 16 long years. Third, the most important, this is filmmaker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s leap as a visionary. Mehra deliberately does not hand hold his audience and takes it for granted that they share his creative space,” says Somaaya. “ After all, every film does not have to tell a riveting story, some have to be watched for the craft and Mirzya is a cinematic experience,” she adds.

Some praise also came in for the performances of the debutant actors. “Harshvardhan’s forte is pain and hurt. He expresses these with an honesty reminiscent of Dilip Kumar in Dil Diya Dard Liya. Saiyami Kher as Suchitra is no cosmetic beauty. She is real and unstoppably vivacious, a Kajol of the new generation. Both the debutants hold the camera in close-ups with an unflinching directness unique to the new generation of actors. Anuj Choudhary as Suchitra’s royal fiancé is adept at expressing an arrogant hurt,” writes Subhash K Jha.

There were others who criticised the film for being high on style and low on substance.

"However, the undercurrents of passion never touch the surface. Despite gloss and technical wizardry, the audience fails to feel the pain. It becomes tough for them to root for anybody. They keep watching everything from a distance. From placement of props to every character’s marking, Mirzya shows some technical finesse. It’s shot with poetic sensibilities, but that’s probably not enough to stir the audience’s soul," wrote Vats in Hindustan Times.