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Review: Anurag Kashyap’s “Manmarziyaan” Showcases The Messy Reality Of Young Love

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Produced by: Aanand L. Rai, Vikas Bahl, Madhu Mantena and Vikramaditya Motwane

Directed by: Anurag Kashyap

Written by: Kanika Dhillon

Music: Amit Trivedi

Starring: Abhishek Bachchan, Taapsee Pannu, Vicky Kaushal, Ashnoor Kaur, Arun Bali, Neetu Kohli, Saurabh Sachdeva, Vikram Kochhar, Sukhmani Sadana, Poonam Shah, Priyanka Shah, and others.

“Manmarziyaan” is the least violent Anurag Kashyap film till date. In this film, there are no action scenes, not a single fighting scene. But this film dealt with another type of violence – emotional and verbal violence, encountered by young people in real life. This film also depicts the magical power of forgiveness.

Manmarziyaan-Honest Film Review

In the colourful backdrop of Amritsar, Rumi (Taaspee Pannu) and Vicky (Vicky Kaushal) are involved in Fayaar (carnal love) and probably deep love (real love). The family pressures Rumi to settle down with a ‘suitable’ husband, but Rumi wants Vicky to bring his parents and ask her hand in marriage. But their plan doesn’t work. So Rumi gets married to Robbi (Abhishek Bachchan), who is a banker and has recently returned from England.

Vicky has financial constraints and he is not ready to take up responsibilities that come with getting married. The film is a perfect example of the experimental nature of a director, whose description helps you get a deeper insight into a character’s psychology. In its 150-odd minutes, the film’s story does not seem to move forward but leaks through the sides instead. In the middle of the film, you might lose track of the events. Things happen out of nowhere, the way they do in Bollywood movies sometimes, but never in real life. This is a rare film but its made with uncertainty and characters seem to be second-guessing themselves.

The film tries to describe the life of a free-spirited young girl and her complicated love story. Kashyap, working with screenwriter Kanika Dhillon, composer Amit Trivedi and photographer Sylvester Fonseca, seems to have lost himself in the food and graffiti of Amritsar and possibly the slang language of the youth. To work inflow is good, but it seems overwhelming sometimes especially the dancing twins that appear in the music sequences that feel fake even when they are intended to describe Rumi’s dual nature. The nature documentary about the season of simian sex during the first night of the couple was a smart gag, in the otherwise dull movie.

It is through Robbie, a contestant for the best boy in Hindi film history, that the film has an emotional breakthrough. When Rumi starts warming up to him (it takes a drunken scene, which is a step away from usual Bachchan), Robbie slowly starts getting a hold of his feelings too. “I am happy in this relationship,” he argues. “Why are we discussing this?” – “Because the discussion is good,” he replies. This perhaps is this year’s most sensible dialogue from a Hindi movie.

All this leads to the remarkable final scene. There is no potentially deadly punch, nor a disintegrated body or a bullet-ridden corpse – which is unlikely for an Anurag Kashyap movie. There is only an extended walk and talk, where some issues are resolved and others are wisely left alone. This scene is beautifully written and the acting is great. But a slo-mo shot in one of the music sequences seems like a betrayal to the mood the film is trying to set.

“Mukkabaaz” which was released earlier this year, it was a tough film with a soft centre. In this drama about an aspiring boxer by Kashyap, the unanticipated tenderness of the central romance steals the show. While there is no doubt about the depth of Robbie’s feelings for Rumi, the audience was unable to feel the connection.

Hindi cinema has struggled to portray the romance of the social media generation, a brilliant example is an old director who made “Befikre”(2016).  He terribly fails to connect with the youth and their idea of romance. But “Manmarzian” feels close to the messy reality of youth romance. The central pair hooks up on tinder and removes the app from each other’s phone later. As one of the songs in the film urges: “Zamana hai badla/ mohabbat bhi badli/ ghise pite version nu/ maaro update” ( times have changed/ love’s changed too/ antiquated versions/ need to be updated).

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Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

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The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

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