Mr. & Mrs. Mahi has heart in right place, Janhvi shines again

Rajkummar Rao and Janhvi Kapoor in Mr. & Mrs. Mahi. Photo: Hype PR

The film simultaneously tells us that gender inequality isn’t cool, that love should be unconditional and unselfish, that marriages with matching sensibilities are ideal, that honesty is more vital than being fake, that careers should not be forced on offspring, and that Indian society has evolved from the time that wives found happiness only in being in the shadows of their husbands and raising children.

With these noble aims, the film brings out the tale of Mahendra Agarwal and Mahima Gupta (Rajkummar Rao and Janhvi Kapoor respectively) from Jaipur. Mahendra is an average cricket player from childhood, and having failed to make the grade professionally in that game, helps out unwillingly in his father (Kumud Mishra)’s sports shop, where the senior regularly photographs himself with sports celebs to hang on a particular wall.

Dr. Mahima’s proposal arrives, and she is a topper all through. To match her excellence, Mahendra’s father exaggerates his son’s “achievements” and (as an ever-dismissive and taunting dad) even tells his son that if he did not do that, no such girl would so much as look at him. Smarting under this latest insult, Mahendra decides to meet Mahima and come clean, and as a result, wins her over with his honesty.

The two are married and on the suhaag raat, Mahima claims acidity as the reason not to get intimate. However, Mahendra is in for a whopping surprise when he finds his better half watching a crucial India-Australia cricket match at 4.30 in the morning the next day for which she had to sleep early. He confesses his love for cricket too and she suggests he try his luck at it. But Mahendra’s earlier trainer (Rajesh Sharma) suggests that he does not have it in him to be a professional player and suggests that he train students as a coach. Mahendra rejects the offer disdainfully.

But again to his amazement, he finds Mahima hitting terrific sixes on the ground while he has been talking to the coach, and she confesses that her father (Purnendu Bhattacharya) had diverted her from an obsessive love for cricket as he wanted her to become a doctor. Mahendra convinces his wife to follow her calling, abandon medicine, and becomes her coach.

When she is selected for the state, Mahima is ecstatic. But Mahendra, craving for appreciation for something at least, is upset. Mahima is puzzled at his indifference. And soon, she realizes that her husband’s interest in coaching her was not really about her. Heartbroken, she decides to go ahead without his help, but her game begins to suffer. The predictable resolution and redemption occur. Mahendra’s father finally accepts his son’s worth and his own mistakes. There are significant changes on the wall too, which have to be seen.

The problem with Mr & Mrs Mahi is the mammoth suspension of disbelief (read logic) that the viewer must do to take home all the good messages in it! Sample this: a mediocre wannabe cricket player turns out to be a terrific coach, his only credentials being that he loves his student, and more importantly, wants glory for himself. He knows the nitti-gritties of great cricket so well that he can talk about the smallest nuances.

Mahima is so obsessed with the game but is excellent even years after she has last played: that is still acceptable, but what is not convincing is that an all-through academic topper like her is indifferent to her work as a doctor and keeps getting duly and justly berated by her seniors. Really, doc?

The gimmicky film title as both share the acronym for their names apart, the film is just adequate technically, and the cricket sequences do not evoke the normal fervor of such segments in a sports drama. The music is a washout, the customary re-creation and multiple tunesmiths are there but a “Music Supervisor” (!!!) gets top credit! The background score has nothing to boast about.

Rajkummar Rao reprises from a number of his past performances and his hangdog expressions and general demeanor has begun to pall now and look alarmingly repetitious. Janhvi Kapoor saves the day with another magical performance after Mili and Bawaal and the same director’s Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl. She yet again vindicates my stand that in the post 2014 generation (the second half of the decade 2015-2019), she is way ahead of the competition, including some overrated peers!

Kumud Mishra is effective as the father, but Rajesh Sharma is average and Purnendu Bhattacharya alright. Zarina Wahab shines in a small role as Mahendra’s mother.

Wish the film too had glittered. Sharan Sharma had done far better in his debut film, and among other aspects, that movie did not seem stretched at all.

Dharma Productions’ Mr & Mrs Mahi  Produced by: Karan Johar, Umesh Kr Bansal, Hiroo Yash Johar & Apoorva Mehta Directed by: Sharan Sharma Written by: Nikhil Mehrotra & Sharan Sharma  Music: Aadesh Shrivastava, Vishal Mishra, Tanishk Bagchi, Jaani, Achint & Yuva, Hunny & Bunny, Dhrruv Dhalla  Starring: Rajkummar Rao, Janhvi Kapoor, Kumud Mishra, Zarina Wahab, Rajesh Sharma, Arjit Taneja, Purnendu Bhattacharya, Yamini Das & others







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