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Mr and Mrs. Mahi Movie Review: Rajkummar Rao and Janhvi Kapoor

Mr and Mrs. Mahi Movie Review: Rajkummar Rao and Janhvi Kapoor

Mr and Mrs. Mahi

The project produced by Dharma Productions presents Rajkumar Rao and Jhanvi Kapoor in lead roles, playing the role of Mahendra and Mahima respectively. Their paths collide due to the proposition of an arranged marriage and what formulates is an enduring friendship as they get familiar with one another and embark on a new chapter as a married couple. The bond between them becomes even more special as they share their love for cricket with one another.

 

Mahendra, a failed professional cricketer himself, who finds himself reduced to managing the family’s sports equipment business, identifies the natural talent of Mahima with the sport. Mahima, a doctor by profession, is motivated to pursue this passion by her husband, something that she herself did not recognize. 

The journey of the couple as Mahima reaches higher ground in the sport unravels several themes regarding one’s ultimate purpose, the dynamic within a partnership through several stumbling blocks, and more importantly, a sense of individual identity.

 

Does the movie really hit the emotional chord within us as viewers and go beyond the expected beats we have seen in similar storylines? Here’s me telling you the good and bad aspects of the film so that you guys can ultimately decide whether to watch Mr. and Mrs. Mahi in theatres or not. The Underwhelming Aspects The trailer revealed everything.

 I wanted to give the makers the benefit of the doubt when they designed the trailer, expecting that there may be beats of the screenplay that are still not revealed through the trailer.

 

I would love to be in a world where we exist in isolation and go inside the theatre with a clean slate and zero idea about where the film is headed, in the digital age of every marketing snippet requiring our two cents. While exploring the film, I realized that the trailer literally revealed everything about the plot of the film. My feelings literally went from, hey, I love the vibe of this film, but did I just see the entire movie in its trailer?

 And this is something that really makes you coast through the film rather than actually having an experience of shock or any form of oscillation that one should associate with the film’s screenplay.

 

I genuinely believe that the aspects such as Raj Kumar being an ex-cricketer and the conflict between the couple which stems from Mahendra’s failed cricketing career and essentially making Mahima his project could have been left from the trailer, so that there is a genuine and organic discovery of the same beats. Alas, the film and its marketing gave away everything. Warm tone, frames and the depiction of the game.

 

This is by the way, and I mean this in the most sincere and empathetic way possible, is probably the ugliest looking dharma film I have seen in a long time. I say this because the frames look like the quintessential manner in which Hollywood movies depict Mexico. Rajasthan and the idea of it being hot and dry should not be taken so literally, where the frames almost have a warm sepia tone lending it a very ugly cinematic appeal.

 

Even the depiction of the marriage between the characters is so yellow, you wonder why the makers stuck with this visual consistency in both the interiors and exteriors. As the running minutes pass by, you will realise that the film is not a cricket film, but an exploration of one’s idea of themselves in a life where most of the decisions are dictated by others around you, but the depiction of the game itself is something that I have a huge gripe with.

 For an actor like Janhvi and so much of the marketing being dedicated to how much she has given to the role and the sport and acing every minute detail, the sport is inundated with quick cutaways and unnecessary close-ups.

 

The act of bowling, the ball pitching, the stroke executed by the batter and the ultimate result in the boundary are all separate shots that provide a very abrupt experience in watching the sport. This is in sharp contrast to a recently released movie like Maidan that choreographed the gameplay so well that the viewer actually felt every new development of the game.

 The portions where Janhvi is playing at a state level deserved a better depiction that allows the viewer to be on the edge of their seat, versus feeling as if they are just watching a compilation of shots practiced by an actor almost done in isolation.

 

The Good The music. I absolutely have fallen in love with the album formulated by various artists for this film. I would assume me raging on the news that a movie is remaking the iconic portion of Shabba Shabba because I don’t think that beautiful transition of SRK trying to serenade Kajol can ever be recreated.

 

But I must say that this is one of those remake songs that really captures the soul and essence of the original song and does not bastardize it like most remakes. It’s soulful, it captures the budding romance between the leads and Mohammad Faiz’s vocals really adds an interesting texture to the melody. Songs like Tu Hai To and Agar Ho Tum are additions to the soulful nature of this album but I absolutely fell in love with the single Roya Jab Tu sung by Vishal Mishra, a singer who always has a banger if he ever lends his voice to an album.

 

The single captures the dynamic between the couple especially when they traverse through the most difficulty and the lyrics communicate so much of what Mahima thought Mahendra was doing out of sheer love and it being nothing but a smokescreen and just a projection of his own failings in life. The album is truly beautiful. The Universal Struggle As I said, the film is not a sports film in any way but captures the emotional turmoil of a character like Mahendra that so many will relate with.

 

The film sheds light on the universal experience of most middle class children whose dreams have an expiration date, a timeline in which they can hope and wish for what they originally intended. The pressure of the mundane life where one will surrender to the mediocrity is something everyone fears and Mahendra’s journey is constantly dealing with what he could have been vs what he is. 

I am sure every Indian boy at one point of time has dreamt of becoming a cricketer and this specific story can be equated to any pursuit that is stopped even before one could fathom it to be a reality.

 

The movie poses several questions. Is Mahima’s content life as a doctor something that she envisioned for herself or something that she was instructed is best for her? How Mahendra becomes a shell of himself while assisting his father in his sports shop may be a result of becoming a victim to his own circumstances having been consistently told he’s not good enough.

 Are his pursuits only a result of wanting to prove his father wrong or for the genuine love for the sport and the identification of talent when he sees Mahi? Can the has-been be satisfied in just being a kingmaker? A theme often explored in movies like Ashiki 2 and Rocky 4. I definitely commend the writing of Nikhil Mehrotra and Sharan Sharma that make you introspect about the same.

 

The main theme however that truly resonated with me is something that I will dwell on in the conclusion. The dynamic and performances. The criticism that Janhvi Kapoor often gets is that her performance benefits from the from other capable actors that she surrounds herself with.

 

If you see a movie like Gunjan Saxena and sharing screen space with Pankaj Tripathi, Millie and sharing so many scenes with Manoj Pawar and in this case a capable actor like Rajkumar Rao playing her romantic interest. The film actually explores a lot of the internal conflict of Raj and the impact it has on Mahima’s life.

 In turn, a lot of the screen time is dedicated towards Mahendra but in moments where as a performer is compelled to be emotionally vulnerable or confront her husband, she shines with flying colours.

 

Even regarding a delivery that is often criticised, she brings a great sensitivity to a character who is dealing with the shocking revelation that her husband’s efforts are not as selfless as she presumed. Many people are criticising Rajkumar’s performance and I actually beg to differ from those who think that he wasn’t convincing because Mahendra is a tricky character to play. He is mediocre, whiny, unlikable, constantly distracted and deeply insecure and this often leads you to dismiss him as a loser.

 

You have empathy for him for the lack of love he receives but his projection towards Mahima enrages you. I however feel Raj executed the same brilliantly of playing this deeply underconfident human who has a new lease of life as he meets the girl of his dreams who puts a smile on his face, who makes him feel the journey of this thing called life is worth it, a dynamic that hits a spark due to cricket but that becomes a deep friendship as the film progresses. 

Raj breaking down organically on how thankful he feels for Mahi’s entry in his life or Mahima being taken aback by him standing by his side when confronting her parents accounts for great scenes and for a dynamic that really works holistically.

 

It is however the confrontation scene where both the actors shine, where one has to come to terms with themselves and this is where I feel the film does a splendid job in making Mahendra realise his actions and the detrimental impact it has on his wife. There is nothing worse than when you feel bad about your own personal victories in a romantic relationship where one feels compelled to cater to the moods of those who you thought would be the most ecstatic. 

It’s these awkward but so real moments that make Mr and Mrs Mahi more than just a cricket movie but a couple traversing through the bad and the ugly while dealing with their own sense of self.

 

Is it exceptional and inspiring like Jersey? I don’t think so, I will not go that far. It has a predictable nature in its screenplay but it does have a sincerity and sweetness that makes it a compelling watch for the theatres this weekend. And that was the video guys, write down in the comments below what you thought about Mr and Mrs Mahi.

 

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