Movie Review: Marjaavaan

Movie Review: Marjaavaan

Marjaavaan Movie Review: Imagine if Milap Zaveri made Road to Perdition in Bollywood, but minus all the brilliance and replacing it with tone-deaf attitude, bad puns and exaggerated performances? There, you have Marjaavaan, which the director may call as a tribute to Bollywood of yesteryears, but in fact, becomes a remnant of those yesteryears. Well, the trailers had warned you, and the film is no longer different – Marjaavaan is as bad as they come. Marjaavaan Opens With 25-30% Occupancy In The Morning Shows.

Marjaavaan begins with Raghu (Sidharth Malhotra) shooting down Zoya (Tara Sutaria) in the rains. The narrator tells us then that these lovers were doomed the moment they had met the first time; what he subtly wanted to warn us is that we are doomed the moment this started. Ah, anyway, the movie then goes into a flashback that is about the circumstances that led to this killing.

So Raghu is a goon from Dharavi, Mumbai who is an orphan with a golden heart. He works for a powerful don, Narayan Anna (Nasser), who sees him as a foster son and relies on him for muscle power. This doesn’t go down well with Anna’s real son, Vishnu (Riteish Deshmukh), who is all of three-foot and reminds you of it every second scene.

Remember those memes about No One?

Like, No One:

Vishnu: Makes Every Bad Height Jokes Known To Man!

Yup, he is that irritating!

Anyway, in Raghu’s meaningless life comes Zoya, a mute girl from Kashmir, who wants to train kids from the slum and take them to her state for a musical concert. Considering that the movie is set in 2019 (the date inscription on a grave in the film confirmed this, since none of the events felt any relevant), the poor girl doesn’t know what’s happening back in her state.

It is love at first sight for both Raghu and Zoya, the latter perennially smiling her way to soften the tough boy. Even when she is crying.

Oh yeah, I forgot, there is also Aarzoo (Rakul Preet), a bar dancer who has hots for Raghu and thinks herself as discount Rekha from Muqaddar Ka Sikandar. The role was mostly to make Rakul show off her tattooed abdomen.

Before you know it, Vishnu’s vindictive eyes fall on the newly blossomed relationship, leading to Zoya’s killing. Which, if you really think about it, shouldn’t have happened in the first place. But I am not sure if any thinking happened during the writing, as Milap puts in one ’90s trope after another in the film, making me wish I was actually watching Sooryavansham on Set MAX instead.

You have a hero who can bash any number of villains you send at him and can make jumps from great heights and land without a  scratch.  He can even hold on to two speeding trucks at the same time, and the director even throws in a hand-pump moment for him. But when it comes to saving the girl, suddenly, he loses all the superpowers he has to protect her life. He also has three sidekicks, each one more irritating than the other.

Both the female leads have nothing much to do, especially look good on the camera and do bad acting when needed. Then there is the villain, who fancies the camera and loves to sway his head from right to left, while being menacing for no reason. Not to mention, two remixes each featuring Nora Fatehi and Rakul, that serve the sole purpose of titillating the front-benchers.

Milap’s last film, Satyameva Jayate, also used the same ’90s formula, and it turned out to be a hit. But Satyameva Jayate was so absurd that it was entertaining, like those so-bad-its-good kinda movies. No such luck, here, for Marjaavaan is a tedious watch from the start to the end.Marjaavaan: Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan Inspired Sidharth Malhotra to Play the Lead in Milap Zaveri Film, Here’s How!

I really don’t mind Milap’s fascination for the ’90s kind of cinema. Hell, even I have been brought up watching those, and I still watch them for nostalgia’s sake. But why the need to make your film the same way as was done then? And why to make movies that even Mithun Chakraborthy may want to forget he has done in that era? Why not try something like an Andaz Apna Apna? Or Satya? Or even Rangeela? All fantastic products of what is considered as an average phase in Bollywood cinema.

But if you still want to show that in 2019 Mumbai, a recently released convict is being accosted by a group of weapon carrying goons right outside the police station, it is difficult to take your movie seriously.

Forget being relevant, the writing (Zaveri himself has scripted it) should have made Marjaavaan more coalescent. But neither the love story nor the vendetta saga is given a full-hearted treatment. You just cannot let go off the influence of Ek Villain in the film, not just in casting Sidharth and Riteish against each other. Even the basic premise is nearly the same – the hero is a goon, his lover gets killed thanks to the villain, and finally the hero trumps the villain – is almost the same.

There were some interesting threads here that should have been explored well. Like Vishnu’s relationship with his father that could have been a fascinating spin on reversing Tyrion’s equation with Tywin Lannister in Game of Thrones. Or Raghu’s hesitation to get into vendetta mode, despite Vishnu’s incessant needling. But this ain’t Badlapur, and Zaveri ain’t Sriram Raghavan. So all the interesting threads are merely empty shells to make a tone-deaf revenge drama.

Speaking of tone-deaf, what’s with every character in the film making bad puns? Who talks like that? I was nearly glad that Tara’s character was mute, so that we don’t her talk in limericks. Unfortunately, she has an interpreter who also makes bad rhymes out of her every action.

Watch The Trailer of Marjaavaan:

If that wasn’t irritating enough, then Milap fills Marjaavaan with annoying religious overtones. Narayan, Vishnu and Raghu are, of course, all names of the same deity. At one point, Vishnu breaks a mirror, and the shattered pieces make it look like he has ten heads. Just in case you overlooked the subtle shadowing, Vishnu makes it a point to remind you that he is like Raavan. Nearly every action scenes have chorus chanting shlokas. Raghu has symbols of all major religions inked on his knuckles. He has a Muslim friend (Shaad Randhawa) whose religious identity is slammed upon your brains every time he appears. And in one incredulous scene, Zaveri manages to include symbolisms for Hindus, Christians and Muslims in one frame. It is like the director’s way of keeping everyone religious happy! Just like the Ayodhya verdict. And in both cases, the real truth is far from that!

The Performances

Sidharth Malhotra basically repeats his angry young man act from Ek Villain to less effect here. He feels a lot miscast when he gets to handle action scenes that are more suited to the brawns of a Sunny Deol or a Salman Khan. Riteish Deshmukh may look the only person who is enjoying what he is doing. Unfortunately, his antagonist lacks the nuances of his psychotic Ek Villain character. Here, he hams to the hilt in every scene, and his dwarfism riddles lose charm within seconds.

Tara Sutaria is disappointing in a very thankless role, which has more to do with how it was written. Pray, why was Rakul Preet credited as Special Appearance? She had more footage than Tara, though even her role is nothing to talk about. Nasser is good as the don who has a softer side for his foster son. Ravi Kishan, cast as an honest cop, has nothing much to do in the film.


– The Movie is Shot Well


– Almost Everything Else

Final Thoughts

Marjaavaan is a tedious piece of cinema that makes you hate everything you once loved about the ’90s. All you can take away from the film is some horrible writing, Sidharth carrying one expression throughout and extremely silly puns you can make about dwarfism, which is kinda insensitive too!