Mirzya Movie Review: Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra reminds me of Vidhu Vinod Chopra – obsessed and super talented in the art and technique of telling a story, but gradually losing the grip on characters, actors and their personal & interrelated journeys. Mirzya may remind some of you of Amitabh Bachchan’s ‘Eklavya The Royal Guard’, which is considered Vinod Chopra’s most stunning film visually, with calm, composed and calculated frames. Or it may also remind you of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s ‘Saawariya’. Mirzya just like ‘Eklavya’ or ‘Saawariya’ is well carved out on screen, but overall lacks the depth and charm of an eternal story that it strives to recreate.
Even as I write my thoughts on Mirzya, I am aware that the film has failed miserable at the box office, and is being termed as the biggest disaster of 2016. Honestly the film deserves more than that – considering we are a country of film audience who turns a Golmaal, Chennai Express and Kick into 300 crore blockbusters. Not that I have anything against these films, but then if these films can rake in the moolah, artistic creations like Mirzya deserve a chance at least – one view at least. Enough of personal angst – let’s talk about Mirzya the film.
Mirzya marks the debut of Anil Kapoor’s son Harshvardhan Kapoor and Saiyami Kher, granddaughter of yesteryear actress Usha Kiran and niece of critically renowned actor Tanvi Azmi. Mehra roped in Gulzar to recreate the beautiful timeless love story of Mirza Sahibaan, with poetry and prose – lyrics and screenplay. Repeating Shankar Ehsaan Loy from his last veture Bhaag Milkha Bhaag Mehra set the tone for an amazing soundtrack. Mirzya is not one of the best, but the best movie soundtrack to come out of Hindi cinema in the last decade at least. His next masterstroke is signing on Polish cinematographer Paweł Dyllus to capture the stunning canvas of Ladakh and rustic beauty of Rajasthan. The music complements the visuals, and the visuals elevate the music. These two departments of Mirzya would be enough for some of you to stay hooked onto the screen for a good 2.10 hour duration of the film.
But then some also need a story, good actors and a gripping narrative. And this ‘some’ constitutes a good 95% of the audience, who are not merely interested in watching beautifully painted frames placed in a sequence. And this is where Mirzya fails.
The film travels between two narratives – an imaginative mythical world of Mirza Sahibaan shot in Ladakh, with no dialogues, and the modern day Rajasthan with an urban feel to it and a love triangle. And joining these two time spots is a ‘lohaaron ki gali’, where iron smiths acts as a ‘sutradhar’ narrating the love story. The story is immaterial – it is the way it has been presented that makes it unique.
Coming to acting, the lead pair is cold – Harshvardhan Kapoor acts with his deep intense eyes, with almost no acting in his voice. His voice is flat, with no modulations in sync with the emotions running inside him. But the lad has talent, and it is visible in some frames. Saiyami is more vocal with acting, more histrionics, more drama – which goes with the film and its story. But as a pair, both fail to ignite the passion and flame of love. Anuj Chowdhary and Anjali Patil are impressive. Art Malik is good, but wasted. Om Puri needed more screen time.
I am confused as to whether it is a good film or a bad film. It is a pure work of art, a maker’s indulgence in creating something, which would have been amazing experience for all the creators involved in the process. The happy maker decided to share his work with the world, and that is where things go a bit awry. So as an art admirer I loved the experience of watching poetry in motion on screen. Mirzya is not everyone’s cup of tea. It needs patience and a lot of acceptance to appreciate the labor. Some viewers may just love the whole experience of watching the songs on the big screen, as I did. Others may appreciate the poetry and couplets laced into the dialogues by Gulzar. However, some focus and effort towards the story would have paid dividends in the form of box office success too.