Malaal Hindi Movie ReviewFeature Film
A remake of Selvaraghavan's Tamil film '7G Rainbow Colony', Malaal attempts to make magic with two newcomers Meezaan (Javed Jafferi's son) and Sharmin Segal (Sanjay Leela Bhansali's niece, not related to Steven), but falls flat on its unoriginal nose. It's sad because the two are quite promising, the girl more so than the boy who comes across as a poor man's Ranbir Kapoor. The girl is rather attractive, but has limited acting chops.
And the story does not help. Not at all. He's Shiva, the no good lad from a chawl (housing project like rooms connected with a common balcony, for common folk, unique to Mumbai), where his dad comes home to beat his mom who makes chaklis (Marathi savoury snack). Sharmin plays Aastha, who has just moved in next door with her parents - dad (two heart attacks, so you know he's going to be villain) and mom (attempts to play martyr) - because her dad was once rich but has lost all the money at the stock market. By the way, this film is set in 1998 and tries hard to play the communal card (he's Marathi, a local, and she is a North Indian, a Tripathi) but it peters out rather early in the film because lack of courage to make something courageous as love between different communities.
And that's just the beginning. Shiva has a temper, but he won't turn into Sanjay Dutt of Vaastav. She's all Simran of Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge but doesn't have the sass that Kajol's character had in the film. Neither are her parents Amrish Puri and Farida Jalal. There are some songs that happen and the dance moves (Javed Jafferi's son has an additional burden of dancing as good or better than dad) are tired. Not the lad's fault. You just wish his hair wasn't so carefully casual. And you do groan when she does the very tiresome girlfriend thing: If I take one puff of that cigarette you will stop smoking, And if I drink one peg of whatever you are drinking, then you will stop drinking... You groan! Is she his girl or his mom?! Lads should swipe her left if any girl should say something this bizarre!
The weirdness does not stop there. 'Walk behind me or ahead of me because no one should know we are together', she says, and he obeys. She's basically Taliban. He counts the number of steps she walks every day. So he's Fitbit. She plays more paper messages from one balcony to another, and when he asks her if she loves him, she tears the paper and throws it down the balcony. And after a bit when she's sitting on the rocks by the sea (couples go to canoodle there) she produces an account opening form for him to fill. Before you go whaaaa... She has got him a job at a stockbroking firm as an office boy who gives tea to the brokers and carries messages. She is still playing his mom. Especially because she knows he has 12 shirts and 3 tees and some ganjis (undershirts) and one of them ganjis has holes (she knows exact location of the holes). This is how much she loves him. He preens. The audience has hurt itself facepalming. She sounds more like his laundry lady than lover.
She tells her mom that she wants to be with Shiva because she would soon be married to Aditya (please don't ask who this sleazy Mercedes driving foreign returned creep is, but he's the Parmeet Sethi from Dilwale Dulahniya without the charm). Mom is ineffective and let's her go. They make out (thankfully they don't show us sloppy kisses) but they wake up fully clothed. When walking home from friend's apartment, she crosses the street without looking and yesssss! Relief! She dies, and he's injured. She has been telling him that he needs to make something of his life... Alas the movie does not end there. While you have finished your neighbor's popcorn out of sheer boredom because he has fallen asleep, Shiva has grayed and predictably heads Aastha Wealth Management, and is still talking to the dead Aastha...
You discover that you have aged too. You reflect at the paucity of ideas in the film industry today and wonder why the once hugely popular romance genre is not even pulling 20 couples to the first day first show.
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