Mirzya review: A colourful rendition of Shakespeare in Rajasthan
Cast: Harshvardhan Kapoor, Saiyami Kher, Anuj Choudhary
Director: Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra
“Et tu, Brute! (You too, Brutus),” says a would-be-bride’s drunk father. But the woman is far from reconciling and a silent war brews between them. Neither is the winner and the person pulling the strings is hidden in the background.
Two school kids in Jodhpur are inseparable. The rich girl isn’t concerned about the boy’s humble roots and both are happy until a tragedy tears them apart. They meet again in Udaipur after some years – now as princess Suchitra (Saiyami Kher) and horse trainer Aadil (Harshvardhan Kapoor).
Suchi’s marriage with Prince Karan (Anuj Choudhary) is impending, and it’s going to be a saga to remember, filled with rage, grief and romance.
With Mirzya, Gulzar is back to screenplay writing after 17 years. He chooses to depend on a ‘sutradhar’ (the narrator). Sometimes, it’s a voiceover, sometimes it’s a group of tribal women.
The women wear colourful clothes and dance to songs reflecting the protagonists’ mental states. Add to it Shankar Ehsaan Loy’s music that reflects the ecstatic pain of love and takes the narration forward.
Director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra creates a surreal world. He experiments with time warp and appears confident about the technique – having used it effectively in Rang De Basanti and Bhaag Milkha Bhaag.
And he is willing to add more drama. Like a stage play. Amidst colour blasts and oiled bodies, where super-slow motion shots frequently feature.
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.
Also, a predictable story requires such gimmicks. We know Mirza-Sahibaan’s saga, one of Punjab’s most famous folklores. The interest was around how Mehra presents it, and he nails it, but what about intercuts to the real-time story?
In this part, he doesn’t have the luxury of Zack Snyder’s 300 like graphics, or saturated colours, or booming background score. The lead actors’ performances are his prime saviour, so giving them less dialogues appears like a wise decision. It helps in escalating the tension too.
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.
Harshvardhan Kapoor has decided to debut with an unconventional film, and he gets noticed. He underplays it, still leaves his impression in shots where he is alone on the frame. Saiyami Kher looks mysterious as Sahibaan, but somehow the other sides of her personality don’t come out.
You feel for Anuj Choudhary. His character doesn’t get time to switch gears. His transitions are too fast, but he does it with complete submission. A prince’s carefully worn humility to dejected anger, he displays a range of emotions, leaving us wanting for more.
This 135-minute Shakespearean drama is visually impressive, but lacks the essence of a heart wrenching love-story. It’s a period drama trying hard to be a musical. And music? Probably the best in last couple of years.
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