Mumbai, 06 Mar 2020 19:00 IST
Updated: 09 Mar 2020 13:15 IST
Lead pair Sayali Sanjeev and Suvrat Joshi manage to lift film beyond its flaws.
In India, irrespective of the state you belong to, the institution of marriage is considered sacred. And it would not be improbable to say that most middle-aged Indians and those of older generations are obsessed with the subject.
Ironically, such traditional people, who take the idea of marriage seriously, also end up taking it so lightly, intentionally or othewise, that they ‘fix’ meetings between two strangers and ask them to get married, as long as everything else is according to the elders' choice. This is how life’s most important decision is often taken.
This premise forms the basis of first-time writer-director Mrunmayee Deshpande’s Mann Fakiraa. Bhushan (Suvrat Joshi) is forced to marry Riya (Sayali Sanjeev) after being emotionally blackmailed by his mother following a heart attack. On their first night itself, Bhushan accidentally tells Riya he is in love with Mahi (Anjali Patil), whom he had met during a trip to London. He could not marry Mahi because his mother objected to Mahi’s way of life.
Now Riya is miffed with Bhushan for marrying her despite being in love with Mahi. But she soon realizes that she, too, loved someone else, Nachiket (Ankit Mohan). Coincidentally, they, too, had met in London. Eventually, Riya and Bhushan start sympathizing with each other and try to solve their common problem.
Despite the complicated love stories, the main conflict in the storyline is the generation gap between the parents and their children, especially when it comes to marriage. As Bhushan and Riya go about trying to fix what has been broken (including their hearts), you can’t help but feel for them. At times they may appear silly, but you can’t miss the innocence and honesty they carry through the film.
This obviously means that Joshi and Sanjeev have played their respective characters with honesty. Joshi became popular on television with the serial Dil Dosti Duniyadari (2015). He made his film debut three years ago but has not been very successful yet. He has a chance with this movie, however, as his performance as Bhushan displays the right amount of vulnerability and innocence.
Sayali Sanjeev revealed her potential in Aatpadi Nights (2019). She gets to play a full-fledged character here with different shades and grabs the opportunity with relish. She has a series of films lined up and it looks like she will be a name to reckon with in the future.
Mann Fakiraa does not run out of steam in the second half, despite the mostly predictable story. In fact, you can easily guess the climax too. The finale makes it clear that the tale is similar to Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999). Only, here we have two characters who are unable to marry the person they each loved.
However, Deshpande’s treatment is different from that of Sanjay Leela Bhansali's in the Salman Khan-Aishwarya Rai-Ajay Devgn starrer. She has displayed maturity in her first film as writer and director.
But the film has problems, not so much with its climax as with how it ends. The writers end up not doing justice to the characters of Mahi and Nachiket in their bid to give the film a convenient end. Importantly, by ending the story in this manner, the director has at least indirectly bowed to regressive beliefs, even if that was not the intention.
Anjali Patil is a fine performer and she proves that once again here. Ankit Mohan, who previously starred in the historical films Farzand (2018) and Fatteshikast (2019), is decent. But both actors are affected by how their respective characters are treated in the end.
However, despite this issue and the predictable climax, Mann Fakiraa manages to overtake the minuses, simply because of the performances of Joshi and Sayali Sanjeev.
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