Indulgence is a rather difficult trait in the world of filmmaking. We have seen plenty fall prey to it. Ironically, Mirzya as a story possibly demands some indulgence. You, after all, cannot show the same old story the same old way. Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra chooses extravagance as his tool.
Does it work for him, or does it come across as eccentricity is the question.
Mirzya is based on the epic love story Mirza Sahibaan, one of the tragic love stories that originated out of Punjab. We have already seen films on Heer Ranjha and, Soni Mahiwal. The premises of these stories are unattainable love and death. The story hence does not promise any thrill or suspense. We know the lead characters are going to die at the end, after having defied the world for their moment together.
Yet, tragic love stories have often made great premises for Hindi films. We have had successful debuts like Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak and more recently Ishaqzaade, both adaptations of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The latter happened to be the launch-pad of Arjun Kapoor, first cousin of the hero of Mirzya, Harshvardhan Kapoor.
Mehra sets the story of Mirza Sahiban in the present age, calls them Monish and Suchitra. The settings are in Rajasthan, and there is a class divide. The girl is engaged to a ‘Rajkumar’ and she falls in love with the stable boy. There is a back story – they studied together in school before she was sent to study abroad. The screenplay shuffles between two eras – the present and an undefined time period in history when Mirza Sahiban lived. The juxtaposition is aimed at creating a connect between the stories.
Yet, while you are left speechless due to the beautiful visuals, the screenplay fails to connect. The story simply does not invoke any hope for something new. Mehra cuts to incredibly well choreographed and beautifully written songs at regular intervals, none of which blends into the story. That’s a pity because the legendary Gulzar has put in some of his best works into this film.
Quite striking is also the dialogues, or rather lack of it, for the lead male protagonist. Mehra works with camera angles, music and expressions more than dialogues – baffling considering this film also happens to be the launch vehicle for the son of one of Bollywood’s best-known stars. Harshvardhan delivers completely in what he gets, but he seldom has dialogues. His co-star, Saiyami Kher, in comparison, has relatively more avenues to emote. They two actors hopefully get a better scope in the next film. The rest of the cast supports well. Anjali Patil, earlier seen films such as Finding Fanny and Chakravyuh, sparkles.
For more parts than not, Mirzya is a film that does not entice. The only person who stands out is Pawel Dyllus, the cinematographer. This elaborately shot film ends up as an eccentric painting than a compulsive film.