Mumbai, 05 Jul 2019 17:26 IST
In their debut film, Meezaan Jaaferi and Sharmin Segal look like amateurs and their performances range from mediocre to average at best.
Malaal means remorse, regretting a decision. This is exactly what the audience feels after watching Mangesh Hadawale's film.
Malaal is set in 1990s Mumbai and employs the same tropes used in the cinema of that era. Shiva (Meezaan Jaaferi) is an unapologetically rowdy hero who spends his day gambling and fighting on the streets. He lives in a chawl with his parents and a sister. His father thinks he is a good-for-nothing kid.
One day a girl named Aastha Tripathi (Sharmin Segal) moves into their chawl with her family. Shiva is the typical ruffian who rarely goes to college and Aastha is a shy and reserved girl studying to become a chartered accountant. Both, though poles apart, soon fall in love.
This being a full-fledged romantic drama, the leading couple had to carry most of the film on their shoulders. However, both being inexperienced barely manage to put up a performance. Meezaan, son of actor Jaaved Jaaferi, and Sharmin Segal, filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali's niece, look like amateurs and their performances range from the mediocre to average at best. This is their first appearance on the big screen and going by the acting abilities they have showcased here, the road ahead is likely to be tough for them.
When the lead cast fails miserably, the supporting cast must come to its aid. Chinmayee Sumeet Raghvan, who plays Shiva's mother, has delivered an earnest performance as the ever-supportive maternal figure who also gives her son a reality check when required. It is her performance that you remember after leaving the cinema hall. The other supporting artistes have also done a fine job in their respective roles.
Before this, director Mangesh Hadawale had helmed films like Tingya (2008) and Dekh Indian Circus (2011). Tingya, which also featured newcomers and first-time actors, won many awards at various film festivals. Here, however, Hadawale fails to extract good performances from his inexperienced cast.
The film successfully transports you to the 1990s era with its fantastic set design and art direction. It is unclear if the film was shot on location or the chawl was constructed in a studio. Whichever the case, the chawl looked and felt realistic. Even the kholis (rooms) looked like people have actually lived there. This is commendable as such sets in many films look synthetic and unrelatable. Director of photography Ragul Dharuman and production designer Akriti Piplani deserve praise for their work.
The film has a hummable soundtrack and except for the 'Aila Re' song, all of them fit into the story.
At 2 hours 16 minutes, Malaal is too lengthy for its own good and could have been chopped by at least 15 minutes. Surprisingly, the original Tamil film 7G Rainbow Colony (2004) clocks in at 3 hours 5 minutes. So even after cutting out 50 minutes of the story from the original, the remake feels painfully long.
To conclude, Malaal is a poorly concieved remake that was probably only meant to be a launchpad for star kids.
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