Mala Kahich Problem Nahi review: Sensitive take on stress in urban marriages

Release Date: 11 Aug 2017 / Rated: U/A / 02hr 14min

Cinestaan Rating

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Suparna Thombare

Time Please and Double Seat director Sameer Vidwans reiterates his deft touch at tackling urban relationships — this time by navigating the life of a couple that has hit rock-bottom in their marriage.

With Mala Kahi Problem Nahi, director Sameer Vidwans explores the story of an urban couple who, owing to the stress of modern-day life, begins to feel disconnected with each other.

Ajay (Gashmeer Mahajani) and Ketaki (Spruha Joshi) get married against the wishes of their families, who cut all ties with the couple. Seven years on, Ajay and Ketaki are living a good life with son Tanay, but without the blessings of their parents. There are the good job, cars and a huge apartment — in short a seemingly comfortable life. But there are also financial and mental pressure, poor sex life, lack of communication and the loneliness that comes with it. In the daily stress of big city life, the couple has been constantly drifting apart.

Ketaki is disturbed that Ajay is too detached and closed, and never speaks up about his feelings. When she confronts him, he seems to agree but doesn't say anything clearly. The couple is in a place where they either need to separate or go back to the root of why they really got together and what direction they want their life to take.

The narrative seems to lose focus in the second half as the families come back into the picture and the attention starts shuffling between the lead couple and the inter-personal relationships within the members of the two families. Perhaps writer Kaustubh Savarkar, through older and small-town married couples in the family, wanted to depict how every husband-wife relationship goes through various phases and how a modern couple needs to learn from it. But the entire second half, which takes places in a Konkan home, lasts longer than it should have. Sparing just a few more scenes on how the lead couple actually reworked their relationship would have done the film a lot of good.

Nonetheless, some genuinely funny moments in the film and fine performances from the supporting cast, especially Nirmiti Sawant (Ajay's mother) and Ajay Nikam (Ajay's father), keep you engaged. 

Also, it is during this trip to the Konkan that Ajay realizes how he has imbibed some of the behavioural traits of his father. And it is only when he confronts his father that he also confronts certain truths about his own self and his relationship with his wife.

The music by Hrishikesh Saurabh Jasraj aids the screenplay beautifully, with memorable compositions like 'Gaaz Yeta Go' and 'Tujhya Sathi'.

Prasad Bhende's cinematography is praiseworthy. In several scenes the camera moves as smoothly as butter even as the characters stay in one place. And in some the camera steers along with the motion of the characters. One such scene is when Ketaki's aatya (aunt) walks through the door even as Ketaki's father is showing the guests around and Ajay is walking in. The camera moves in one steady shot from one door to the other, following the sudden hustle-bustle in the home.

Writer Savarkar and director Vidwans make a great team as they execute the purpose of the film sensitively and entertainingly.

In the last scene, the camera zooms out on Ajay and Ketaki, who are sharing a laugh and a drink, and continues to zoom out of the skyscraper to an aerial view of Mumbai — a metaphor for this being just one of the innumerable urban couples trying to navigate their relationship in a big city. For that reason alone, this film will resonate with many.