Movie Review: Atrangi Re: Good idea polluted by confused screenplay and fake suspense

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Himanshu Sharma, who wrote the Tanu Weds Manu franchise, the inane Raanjhana and the abysmal Strangers and Zero, has shown that as a writer, he moves with perfect ease from the sensible to the weird or worse. With Atrangi Re, he again shows his predilection for a weirder brand of “entertainment”. It will be noticed that all his films are directed by Aanand L. Rai, whose directorial filmography thus equals his!

Rinku (Sara Ali Khan) has tried to elope an incredible number of times with her “boyfriend” Sajjad (Akshay Kumar) but been caught each time. Her family (she is an orphan brought up by her grandmother and uncles) decides that enough is enough, and hailing from small-town ultra-conservative Bihar, decide to marry her off to the first bachelor they find suitable. They drug Rinku, and abduct a visiting medical student, Vishu (Dhanush), a South Indian, and drug him too. They two are married off and put on a train to Delhi. Of course, Vishu never thinks of lodging a police complaint.

Vishu is accompanied to the North Indian town by his best friend and colleague Madhusudan (Ashish Verma), but the man disappears without trace and we do not know why he does not search for his friend in the place they are visiting. Of course, there is no convincing explanation of why the two are there.

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On the train, Rinku realizes that Vishu has a fiancée and it suits her. They decide to go their own ways in Delhi. Inexplicably, however, Rinku accompanies him to his (men’s) medical hostel and no one thinks of objecting when he keeps her in his room—though he decides to sleep outside!

Vishu has to get engaged to his fiancé Mandy (Dimple Hayathi) and Rinku, who now tells him that he is the nicest man he met after she lost her parents, accompanies him. At the engagement ceremony, however, all hell breaks loose when Vishu’s wedding pictures are seen on his mobile (Who took them? We are not told!). The engagement is broken.

Vishu is, shockingly, least bothered because he has begun to like Rinku, and she too is starting to reciprocate. But what about Sajjad, who keeps appearing? Ah, thereby hangs a tale. This story has a twist of sorts, and it has something to do with Sajjad’s religion and Rinku’s family.

The denouement, when it comes, is told in an unconvincing and weird manner. Leaving several things unexplained, it spawns further confusion on whether Vishu and his friends are medical students (in one scene, he has stated he has four years to go as a student!) or doctors. Their conversation is very ambiguous, suggesting the writer’s alienation from medical academics!

Dhanush, as Vishu, is alright in his role, best when he is shown stressed and breaking out into his character’s (and his real) mother-tongue, Tamil. Sara Ali Khan impresses—just about. Akshay Kumar is alright, saddled with a weirdly presented character. The rest are alright, Seema Biswas being wasted as the grandmother.

As always, A.R. Rahman’s background score is hugely superior to his songs, of which “Rait Zara Si” is conventionally catchy. But “Murali Ki Yeh Dhun” works as a lovely relief to whatever we get to hear nowadays. However, I wish that for such a lovely raag-based composition, the orchestration had not been so percussion-heavy.

Like the film’s unusual subject, it deserved far better treatment!

Rating: **

 

 

 

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