By Raavan Times
Director : Vivek Soni
Cast : Sanya Malhotra, Abhimanyu Dassani
Rating : 4/5
Review : ‘Marriage is an institution’…. some say, perhaps to emphasize on the learning part. In ‘filmy’ words ‘Marriages are made in heaven’ & Couples unite as ‘Divine Match’…perhaps to accept & appreciate what’s in ‘Store’ or ‘Kismat’.
Result of the confluence of such ideas in Indian Perspective have at one time led to a situation where Individuals started to Cultivate the fact that ‘no arrange marriage’ it has to be ‘a love story’ and then followed ‘semi-arranged, semi-love story’. Neither all arranged marriages nor all the ‘new’ marriages have been successful nor all of them have been failures too.
Multiple movies have been made on marriage from different angles but perhaps non have presented the scenario of ‘Accidental Arranged Marriage’ & ‘Long Distance Relationship’ as in ‘Meenakshi Sundareshwar’.
It is a sugary offering of a Love, Arranged Marriage, Indian Family-Culture & Long-Distance Relationship. Director Vivek Soni & Dharma Production have made a commendable effort in story Telling to match up to this Indian Vibe with some innovative charm while portraying the Central two Characters, especially ‘Meenakshi’.
According to Hindu Mythology, Meenaskshi & Sundareshwar are forms/names of Goddess Parvati Lord Shiva. The introductory scene at Meenakshi Temple sets the tone for the journey where we meet the pivotal characters, Meenakshi (Sanya Malhotra) & Sundareshwar (Abhimanyu Dasani), whose parents looking for an apt match for them ended up in a ‘Divine Match’.
The Storyline is short & simple. Somewhere in Madurai, a boy ‘Sundareshwar’ & his family is on the way to meet ‘a match’, but they end up in a wrong house where they meet ‘Meenakshi’.
However, even with contrasting personalities, the pair get along well & believing this meeting to be some sort of ‘Divine Intervention’ they end up tying the knot. But the newlywed couple is forced to stay apart when the hero, Sundar bags his 1st job, with Strange Employment Terms.
The Graduate Engineer has waited a while now for an opening & he has only one year more left in his ‘Piggy Bank’ to prove his ‘Intellectual Worth’ else his father shall force him to the family run ‘Saree-Business’. Hence, he must travel to Bangalore to join as a ‘Trainee’, which means a Long-Distance Relationship is on the cards. Whether distance drives them apart or brings them closer is the Soul of this approximate two-and-half hour film- journey.
Meenakshi & Sundareshwar are poles apart. Sundar does not watch films, he gets bored, Meenakshi is a die-hard ‘Rajnikanth’ fan to the extent she makes sure to watch ‘first day-first show’ & makes sure ‘Rajni’ photos are correctly aligned in the walls of her room to reflect Her Personality. Reading is ‘Meenakshi’s hobby, Sundar’s connection with books is limited to ‘book cricket’. As it sounds there is an interesting pairing of ‘Dull & Vibrant’. In fact, at times, the character of the Office Boss (the IT-Guru), feels far more interesting than Sundar’s.
Abhimanyu tries his best to do justice to an otherwise dead-role but seems far from convincing. He seems little subdued & outdone by the Script’s characterization of the vibrant ‘Meenakshi’ against a fairly dull ‘Sundareshwar’.
Sanya eases into her role with conviction & right exuberance. From ‘Dangal’, ‘Patakha’ & ‘Photograph’ to Netflix projects ‘Ludo-Paglait-Meenakshi & Sunareswar’, Sanya is show casing quite a variety & maturity. As ‘Meenakshi’ she steals the show like ‘Geet’ in ‘Jab We Met’…..Sanya looks real, confident & adorable.
There are some brilliant moments & dialogues in the initial part which increases the excitement, what next…while, there are loose scenes which lets you down. The scene of the Wife smelling at Husband’s shirt is quite intense & decent while the ‘role-play’ scene is too loud, more than hilarious for a family show. The party at Bangalore, the Home Tutor’s role & the sudden arrival of Meenakshi’s ex-boyfriend looks out of sync with the plot & they only drag the film instead of lending any sharpness.
Dialogues like “Never tell your girlfriend that you’re having fun without her” or “Engineers make best husbands” sound weird while the ones like “I want to work at a small firm where I can make big difference” & “Communication is like Oxygen for relationships” sound well thought out.
As a viewer, it seems, the presentation of a ‘Tamil Family Story’ as a Hindi film for a larger audience has not lived up to the level of reflecting the cultural aspects properly, it looks more Hindi-ish than Tamil.
With a fresh, charming & unconventional beginning the film breezes through the first hour or so, but thereafter the steam goes down & feels a bit insipid. May be a shorter length & a realistic approach to the compulsions & constraints of Long-Distance Relationship would have done better justice.
However, there are some good take-away from the film, Debjeet Roy’s cinematography, Justin Prabhakaran’s music, the execution of the initial part by the directorial team & Sanya Malhotra as Meenakshi.
With all analysis said & done, ‘Meenakshi & Sundareswar’ is more than watchable, at least you get to acknowledge an important subject, Long-Distance Relationship in the background of Indian Society, with a very different & beautiful opening. The movie emphasises on the Concept of Building the Bond by being ‘Friends’ first, acknowledging each other’s Limitations & then the gradual development of ‘Respect & Love’ through the challenges of Ego & Wisdom. In this Valentine’s Week, watch it, “no matter what they” tell You !