Cast: Sidharth Malhotra, Riteish Deshmukh, Tara Sutaria, Rakul Preet Singh, Ravi Kishen
Direction: Milap Zaveri
Ratings: 1.5 stars
Whenever you hear the title ‘Marjaavan’ with respect to a love story also having an element of vengeance in it, you tend to feel that you are set to witness an emotional roller-coaster tale of love, ardour and vehemence. But is that the same with Sidharth Malhotra-Tara Sutaria-Riteish Deshmukh starrer, ‘Marjaavan’? Let’s find out.
From the very first sequence itself, you get a hint that director Milap Zaveri is trying to create a magnus opum by paying tribute to the great Big B and his 80’s magic. That truly justifies the opening shot where Raghu (Sidharth Malhotra) enters and bashes up goons like the quintessential Indian ‘Hulk’ and enunciates ‘masaledaar’ dialogues like ‘Main todunga bhi aur tod kar jodunga bhi’ and ‘Main maroonga marr jayega.. dubara janam lene se darr jayega’. Sidharth Malhotra as Raghu tries his best to get into the skin of a notorious thug who is sassy and badass to the core when he is seen chewing the tail of a matchstick while it’s lit. Does it look cool? No, not at all. Milap Zaveri seems to be struggling a bit to get out of his ‘Satyamev Jayate’ zone, where fire and masala seemed to be the key ingredient that worked for the movie. But it’s high time he understands that not all films can hold the same narrative strongly.
The movie attempts to revisit the underworld era of Mumbai in the 80’s where goons and thugs are striving for each other’s blood in the battle of supremacy and power. Raghu, an orphan, has been raised by one such crime lord named Narayan Anna, who runs a prostitution ring and water mafia. Raghu happens to be his most trustworthy and key henchman, who’s unabashedly loyal and staunch to Narayan Anna and Narayan Anna believes in his abilities more than his own son, Vishnu. This doesn’t go down well with Vishnu, who plans to avenge the fact that his father entrusted Raghu to take the business and legacy forward and not him. Although he tries his best to look menacing, the makeup and prosthetics eventually end up being hilarious. In the process, Raghu comes across Zoya, who’s pretty and gorgeous to the core, but isn’t blessed with the ability of speech. The duo meets and has their moments, but more than a love-story, Marjaavan comes across as a story of vengeance and revenge that is blown beyond proportion. Rakul Preet, aka Aarzoo, plays a bar dancer in a night club run by Raghu’s subsidizer. The climax revolves primarily around the battle of supremacy between Raghu and Vishnu and who eventually takes over as the crime lord. It ends up being a battle and war between blood and loyalty and sums up to be a half-hearted failure as a potboiler. As far as how that unfolds and what happens to the love that brewed between Raghu and Zoya, you need to see the movie because, of course, no spoilers allowed.
IWMBuzz Verdict: When Riteish Deshmukh and Sidharth Malhotra came together in a love-vengeance story in ‘Ek Villain’, it was a beautiful narrative as it had all the right elements of masala, love and thrill blended with perfection. But director Milap Zaveri fails to extract the same flavour with his ‘Marjaavan’. The story and the writing are extremely weak and the writer-director duo needs to realize soonest that good writing and script isn’t just about splurging over the top action dialogues from your mouth, as instead of holding any relevant impact, they end up being funny. I mean, come on, this is 2019, and the audience has evolved. Anything and everything in the name of ‘masala’ and action doesn’t work. The director tries his best to get the backdrop right, but then the director’s vision needs to be matched and complimented with strong writing and strong performances. Sidharth Malhotra as Raghu tries his best to transform his image from the boy-next-door to a commercial action hero. But then, who can explain to Milap Zaveri that action isn’t about goons flying here and there where one guy takes on 100 thugs at the same time? Seems like he seems to be still stuck in the 80’s mentally. Tara Sutaria looks her gorgeous best and impresses, while Rakul Preet gets her dancing shoes on with perfection as she was able to make the audience’s jaw drop with her skills. But somehow, the ‘connecting’ dots don’t connect into one straight line and that’s hugely problematic with Marjaavan. The background score is loud and over-the-top and it doesn’t go down well at all. The only positive that comes out from the movie is Riteish Deshmukh’s performance and despite carrying a rather hilarious look to get the south flavour going, he gives his best shot to still instill fear in certain sequences. Overall, Marjaavan is a failed potential that had the ability to win hearts but the execution bit fails like anything and that’s what makes the screenplay go weak. There’s simply 0 to no direction, and the story, when transformed into the screenplay, is pathetic, which surely will not make you miss the 80’s. Watch it only if you are fans of the actors or else avoid.