The Director-Writer duo of Aanand L Rai and Himanshu Sharma are back! They are one of my favourite Director-Writer duos of Bollywood who truly try to create and tell original stories. With films like Tanu Weds Manu, Raanjhana, Tanu Weds Manu Returns to their repertoire, I have always admired their work. Their stories have an element of risk also, the case in point being The SRK starrer Zero whose second half did not go down too well with the audiences. That was the sole dip in their collaboration. This Friday they are back with the new Hindi film Atrangi Re on Hotstar. Its trailer seemed to be an intense yet typical love triangle. Do they spring up a surprise like always, stay tuned!
Story & Screenplay
At the expense of not revealing any spoilers, I would like to keep the story of Atrangi Re under wraps. If you are shocked as to why as it seemed like a straight forward story from the trailer, then you are mistaken. Synonymous with the title, the story is indeed different and hence requires that movie watching experience to know about it. And the story is pretty interesting as well. Here, I must compliment the way the trailer was cut, it did not reveal any spoilers and it was almost as if the makers teased the audience into believing what the film was about. The screenplay is quite well written as well. If you are aware of Himanshu Sharma and his work then a couple of things that he does well is create some meaty characters with strong traits and the world around them. Atrangi Re is no different. You are introduced to the two protagonists and the world around them in an interesting fashion. The dynamics between them and the love story that brews forms a major chunk of the first hour. This would definitely engage the audience although the story would seem routine. But the massive and jaw dropping twist at the halfway mark is where the writer Himanshu Sharma starts weaving his magic.
That twist came literally out of nowhere and it takes you sometime to come to terms with it. But then the curse of the second hour begins. The proceedings slow down considerably and the writing takes a dip although the dip is not as steep as Zero. Thankfully there are some interesting moments that still manage to keep you invested. But the film again picks up in the last 25 minutes ending in an emotional final act that fills you up with warmth. So barring some of the flaws, this is a pretty well written screenplay!
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are fabulous filled with quirky one-liners that will make you chuckle. But some of the emotional dialogues are penned with honesty as well that definitely make an impact. The music by AR Rahman is outstanding and probably one of my favourite albums of the year! The BGM does full justice to the drama. The cinematography is excellent with some of the most breathtaking frames captured aesthetically. Director Aanand L Rai is one of my favourite directors doing the rounds and safe to say that after the “Zero” blip, he finds form again. His direction is top notch and love the way his direction compliments the writing here. He is a master of creating moments and here there are several moments that will keep you invested.
The performances are excellent here. Ashish Verma as MS has his comic timing on point and he manages to make you laugh in more places than one. I saw so many memes of 50 something year old Akshay Kumar getting paired opposite a 20 something Sara Ali Khan. Well all those memes will be put to rest(almost😅). You will understand when you watch the film, and Akshay Kumar is quite good in an extended cameo here. Dhanush as Vishu is all heart here. The internal turmoil that his character faces it brought out so beautifully by him. I think we would all find a Vishu in us and hence his character is so relatable. The emotions that he brings to the table is quite refreshing and honest. And the biggest surprise for me was Sara Ali Khan. After having shown promise in her first outing(Kedarnath), she had dipped steeply. It was around this time last year that I had criticized her work in Coolie No.1. But here as Rinku she shows a lot of spark. This was in no way an easy character to pull off and the confidence with which she does it, it is just astonishingly brilliant. So many emotions, conflicting at times to play with and she nails it and how! This is possibly the start of Sara 2.0 and if she makes some smart choices, she would potentially create a niche for herself. More power to you girl!
Atrangi Re is a refreshingly different love triangle which will keep you invested throughout. Available on Hotstar.