Director: Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra
Stars: Harshvardhan Kapoor, Saiyami Kher, Art Malik, Anuj Choudhry
Runtime: 2h 9min
Genre: Drama, Musical, Romance
Released: 07 Oct 2016
Storyline: A horse groom reconnects with his childhood love, but she is engaged to marry the local prince.
Review: Mirzya has everything that’s required for a musical romance based on a popular Punjabi folktale: a pair of fresh faces (Harshvardhan Kapoor and Saiyami Kher) with great Bollywood genes, a strong supporting cast, and lilting music.
Outside Punjab, the story of Mirza-Sahiba may not be as well-known as the other folktales about star-crossed young love such as Heer Ranjha and Sohni Mahiwal, but it has an equally strong core of emotion. And there’s no one better than Gulzar to be able to translate the story into a film, keeping the feelings and idiom intact. A touch of ‘Romeo-Juliet’ is stirred in to emphasise just how hard the lovers have to fight, and just how much our hearts have to go out to them.
But right from the get-go, Mirzya tells us it’s going to be more about setting the scene, as it cross-cuts in time — some sequences are as spectacular as anything we’ve seen recently — than giving us characters that will instantly grab us, and keep us with them. This problem plagues this lush, good-looking production right through, and makes it much less of a film than it could have been.
Transplanting the tale to Rajasthan allows for locations that can take your breath away, despite their overuse in Bollywood. Grand forts, picturesque hamlets, glittering deserts and undulating dunes, and `rajwadaas’ with all their grand costumes and liveried retainers: Mirzya is all eye candy.
There’s also something sweet and engaging about an initial segment which shows Suchi and Mohnish as childhood sweethearts very attached to each other, who part and meet again in very different circumstances.
The film starts to slide when we meet these two as young adults, Suchi (Saiyami Kher) as a curly-haired miss engaged to Prince Karan (Anuj Choudhry) who bumps into Adil-Mohnish (Harshvardhan Kapoor), and re-kindles old embers. But soon enough it gets stuck in silliness, and a line exchanged between the lovers becomes all too prescient: ‘tum aa rahi ho ya ja rahi ho’, asks he. The film, much too intent on creating prettiness, gives us no answers: Suchi and Adil-Mohnish come and go minus impact.