Malaal Movie Review: Great visuals, but film not worthy
Malaal is an innocent love story in which even holding hands, let alone a lip-lock, is life-altering. This simplicity, however, goes against the film instead of serving it.
Director: Mangesh Hadawale
Cast: Meezaan Jaafery, Sharmin Segal
Stories like Malaal did well in the '90s, and soon after, concepts like these begin to fade away from cinema. The film seems like yet another ode to Shakespeare's tale of the doomed alliance between two socially unequal lovers.
Set in the 90s, the film showcases local tapori Shiva (Mezaan Jaffery) meeting good girl Aastha (Sharmin Segal), who pursues chartered accountancy. After she bids adieu to a lavish lifestyle when her father runs into financial trouble, Aastha moves into Shiva's chawl. While their conversations are initially hostile, that they will fall for each other is inevitable. This journey makes the first half of the film a breezy watch. Post interval is when the filmmaker loses the plot. A smoothly-progressing offering is unnecessarily stretched. It may have found resonance had it released two decades ago. But, in the age of Tinder, this plot seems jaded.
Yet, when the plot fumbles, the production takes over. Produced by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, the film's visuals are rich. Production designer Akriti Piplani deserves a special mention. The chawls look genuine, and posters of Titanic, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam and Pardes add to the authenticity of the era. Each frame has been created with care.
The music is peppy, and doesn't seem forced. But director Mangesh Hadawale fails to invest time in the script. He also fails to exploit the potential of his lead actors, robbing them of the opportunity to showcase anything more than pain or grief. Jaffery has a good screen presence.
The dialogues (penned by Hadawale) are scorn-worthy. Sample this: Expressing his interest in a girl, Shiva asks his friends, 'Hai na, panner maafik gori?' Love stories about class divide have been exploited enough in cinema. The melodrama and unnecessary subplots don't enhance the theme, at least in this case. Once affiliated with a political party that targets migrating North Indians, the subject is conveniently brushed aside when the love story commences.
An official remake of Tamil director Selvaraghavan's 2004 hit 7G Rainbow Colony -- a film that has seen three previous editions in Bengali, Odia and Kannada -- Malaal is an innocent love story in which even holding hands, let alone a lip-lock, is life-altering. This simplicity, however, goes against the film instead of serving it.
Watch the film's trailer here:
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