Film review: “Marjaavaan” will crush your will to live

Marjaavaan, Milaap Zaveri’s latest directorial venture, has finally hit the big screens. Starring Siddharth Malhotra, Tara Sutaria and Riteish Deshmukh, the film tells the story of Raghu, who works as a thug under Narayan Anna (Nassar), a water mafia don.

Well, could Siddharth and Riteish recreate the magic of Ek Villain? Well, not quite.

Spoiler Alert: It’s no prequel to Ek Villain. (Sigh)

Overview

As stated earlier, the film follows Raghu, the ace hitman of a local Don named Narayan Anna. Narayan loves Raghu more than his son. 

Consequently, Vishnu, Anna’s biological son, falls short of his father’s love. Not to forget, he’s a dwarf and keeps shooting metaphors around height. The story is simple: Raghu is Anna’s most trusted right-hand man and was taken in by Anna after he was abandoned as a child. Vishnu is jealous of Raghu and wants an opportunity to destroy him.

Storyline

Quite frankly, the story has nothing new to offer. Marjaavaan is a standard revenge drama film with half-baked dialogues and mindless action sequences. Five minutes into the film, Siddharth Malhotra can be seen smashing the bad guys. Also, a few plain and tasteless dialogues have been used to ‘ornament’ a largely mediocre film.

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Tara Sutaria, who plays a mute Kashmiri girl named Zoya, wants to transform the lives of slum children. She believes music can change lives. So, our hero converts a Mumbai slum into Indian Idol. Zoya happens to be assembling a troupe for a music festival in Kashmir.

Halfway through the film, the leading lady dies, and our protagonist can be seen crying his eyes out over her lifeless body. The second half is no less painful. Just when you think you have had enough, goons jump into the frame, and you will get to see some substandard ‘dishoom-dishoom’ sequences. Simply put, Marjaavaan’s story will remind you of those over-the-top revenge dramas from the 80s.

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Dialogues

Okay, here’s the interesting part. The dialogues don’t leave much of an impact but do end up providing some unintentional comic respite. Five minutes into the film, Siddharth Malhotra says: “Main Ek maarunga, Marr jaayega. Doosra Janam lene se darr jaayega.” Post interval, we can see Raghu staring at Zoya’s (Tara Sutaria) grave. At this moment, yet another flavourless dialogue can be heard escaping Raghu’s lips: “Zoya, main badla Nahin, Inteqaam loonga” ( Badle ko Urdu mein inteqaam kehte hain. XD). There’s love, there’s melodrama (a lot of it). Not that melodrama hasn’t worked for Bollywood films in the past, but some uninspired dialogue delivery tires you out eventually.  

The film’s writers are to blame. Not much thought has been put into the writing bit.

Performances

Siddharth Malhotra looks disinterested in the film. His dialogue delivery doesn’t end up creating much of an impact. Also, why is he wearing a leather jacket? Does it get cold in Mumbai? Well, god knows. Rakul Preet Singh plays Aarzoo, a dancer. She looks bubbly and charming but was not given much to work with. Also, her dress sense reminds us of the cabaret dancers from the good old 1980s.

Tara Sutaria looks charming. Her expressions are quite believable. Also, her on-screen presence is bound to instil a sense of optimism. Unfortunately, she has been shown as a helpless young woman. A gush of blood pours out of her mouth after she is shot. Optimism and charm die a slow and painful death, alas!

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Ravi Kishan, who plays a cop, looks quite convincing. Unfortunately, he wasn’t given a meaty role. Also, South Indian actor Nassar looks impressive as an underworld don.

Riteish Deshmukh, the film’s antagonist, tries hard to look ruthless, but nobody fears a three-feet tall ball of hair. Also, a villain doesn’t talk in verse, does he? Our villain seems to be obsessed with metaphors around height. All in all, the acting part is weak. The film needed some well-defined characters.

Music

The film’s background music makes you feel uncomfortable. It’s too loud. As far as the soundtrack is concerned, “Tum Hi Aana” sung by Jubin Nautiyal will remain in your playlist for a long time. “Thodi Jagah” by Arijit Singh is easy on the ears. The rest of the songs have just been copy-pasted. Boy, music directors and lyricists need to unleash their creativity.

The verdict

Simply put, Marjaavaan is a hotchpotch of epic proportions. It is not something you’d want to watch. Well, if you wish to kill time, then give it a try. Marjaavaan is a film that could have been a full masala entertainer, but a largely predictable plot doesn’t let it rise above its limitations. 

Rating: 1.5/5

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Rewind, Press, and Play: Bollywood Hits That Ruled Our Playlists This Year

Bollywood films can never be complete without songs and soundtracks. It certainly would be no overstatement to say that songs and music form the heart and soul of a Hindi film. Right from Hardy Sandhu’s ‘Naah’ to Atif Aslam’s “Dil Diyaan Gallaan” saw countless chartbusters.

This year, it has been no different. Bollywood has churned out some top-notch melodies this year around as well. Here’s a list of top 10 songs that have rocked my personal playlist in 2018. I am quite sure 10,000 different people would have 10,000 different opinions. Your playlist could be completely different from mine. Do leave your comments below.

So, here’s a list of some songs from my 2018 playlist

  1. Dilbaro (Raazi)

While the film became immensely popular because of Alia Bhatt’s stellar act and Meghna Gulzar’s tight direction, the film’s soundtrack too left an everlasting impact on the listener’s mind because of the catchy lyrics and soulful music. Out of all the songs within the film’s soundtrack, “Dilbaro”, sung by Harshdeep and Shankar Mahadevan. The song is penned by veteran lyricist Gulzar, who happens to be the director’s father, and beautifully captures the bond shared by the father-daughter duo.

  1. Dhadak title track

The song became an instant success because of its hummable lyrics and breath-taking vocals. Shreya Ghosal and the composer duo of Ajay-Atul collaborated to bring us one of the best songs of the year. The picturesque surroundings acted as the perfect stage for the lead pair to express love. The bright and colourful locations of Rajasthan add a majestic touch to the song. Also, a feeling of fragility and rawness portrayed in the song’s music video makes you listen to the song again and again.

 

  1. Binte Dil (Padmaavat)

The best thing about Padmaavat’s soundtrack was its richness. You songs symbolizes almost every human emotion.  “Binte Dil “, sung by the ever-so-talented Arijit Singh and penned by A.M. Turaz beautifully captures Allah-ud-din’s burning desire to get a glimpse of Rani Padmavati.  Ornamenting the song are colourful lyrics portraying a myriad of human emotions, ranging from lust to desire to seduction and everything in between. If I could describe the song in a single word, I’d say it is intimate.

 

 

4. O Saathi (Baaghi 2)

How can any list of popular songs be complete without Atif Aslam? 2018, in all fairness, had Atif Aslam’s name written all over it. This lad from Pakistan churned out one hit song after the other in 2018. “O Saathi” from the Tiger Shroff starrer “Baaghi 2”. The film set the ticket windows on fire and emerged as one of the highest-grossing Bollywood films of the year. One of the major reasons behind the film’s success was its hit soundtrack.

Playing the song ‘O Saathi’ reminded me of all of my childhood crushes. The lyrics and the music are easy on the ear and do not sound laboured at all. The number is both soulful as well as peppy. Not to forget, Atif Aslam’s mesmerizing voice makes you forget everything else while you’re listening to the song. Also, what makes the song memorable is the music video. Tiger Shroff and Disha Patani are shown together throughout the duration of the song and one has to say that they do look cute together.

 

5.Kamariya (Stree)

This one’s for all the party lovers out there. If you were to take my opinion, I’d say it is one of the best dance numbers I have ever heard. The lyrics are quite catchy and easy to remember. There’s an element of naughtiness portrayed within the song and the lyrics of the song bring out that naughty feeling really well without making it look vulgar. And, and, and how can we forget Nora Fatehi’s electric dance moves? She’s the best thing about the song. Vocals, provided by Astha Gill, Divya Kumar, and Sachin-Jigar are fun and peppy. Also, there’s a sense of rawness that adds significantly to the overall charm of the song. I bet this song would be on every DJ’s list.  Going by the song’s popularity, one can easily say that ‘Kamariya’ from “Stree” is the year’s most popular dance number.

 

 

6. Dariya (Manmarziyaan)

The film might have bombed at the box office, but the charm of the film’s soundtrack became immensely popular with the masses. ‘Daryaa’ sung by Ammy Virk and Shahid Malliya throws ample light on the pain and tribulation one goes through after parting ways with his/her beloved. The song is notable for its moving lyrics, penned by Shellee.  Ammy Virk’s voice complements the melancholic mood of the song. The song became an instant chartbuster in various regions of north India owing to its strong Punjabi essence and flavour.  I must confess this one would remain in my playlist for quite a looong time…

 

 

7. Dekhte Dekhte (Batti Gul Meter Chaalu)

Atif Aslam gate-crashes this countdown yet again.  This one is a recreation of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s qawwali titled ‘Sochta Hoon”. Additional lyrics for the song were penned by Manoj Muntashir. The song borrows heavily from the original version, but that doesn’t take anything away from Atif Aslam, who adds a pinch of freshness to the song with his moving voice. Atif Aslam has always been known for his melancholic and melodious songs and it was no different in this case. The fact that the song’s music video garnered more than 20 million views on YouTube within 24 hours of its release speaks volumes about the song’s popularity and mass appeal.

Other notable mentions:

  • Bum Diggy-Diggy Bum-Bum,
  • Dil Chori
  • Tera Yaar Hoon Main
  • Dilbar
  • Paaniyon Sa
  • Qaafirana