Movie review – Mirzya – A lyrical drama where Rakeysh Mehra makes Harsh and Saiyami shine
By Joginder Tuteja
To make a film that happens to be the launchpad of youngsters is akin to walking on a sword’s edge. Make something conventional and it is tagged as ‘playing safe’. Make something totally different and it could well be bordering into a risky zone. In that perspective, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra indeed had a job in hand to play a balancing game. He had to bring his own sensibilities into play while also ensuring that those expecting a ‘conventionally Bollywood’ setup from this Harshvardhan Kapoor and Saiyami Kher debut affair are content as well.
With Mirzya, he manages to do that!
That said, first things first, Mirzya has an narrative which is largely different from quintessential Bollywood narrative that audience has been conditioned to for decades now. Yes, the film has a love story at the core of it all with strong drama and action taking forward the story. However, there is an inherent poetic narrative to the scenes (courtesy Gulzar and Shankar-Ehsan-Loy), something that brings all the difference to Mirzya. That means it does take time for a viewer to actually get acclimatised to Mehra’s style of storytelling. Not that he tries to deceive anyone. In fact he makes his intentions pretty clear right from the first scene and sets expectations there and then around the pace and styling that the film would boast of.
So what you get to see is the current times amalgamated with the folk lore of Mirza-Sahibaan scene after scene. The stage is set when the action unfolds in the magical land of Ladakh and what you actually see out there is something that is designed only for the big screen. Frankly, you have never seen anything like that ever before in an Indian film and the entire experiment to keep this part of the film sans any dialogue and throughout in slow-motion gives Mirzya a very strong edge. Full credit to the entire cast and crew for making this a visually brilliant affair.
As for the story perspective, it takes time to build up in the current times. The love story between Harshvardhan and Saiyami has an unconventional set up to it but then you slowly start warming up to the characters. Other angles in the story, Anuj Chaudhry and Anjali Patil, have a part to play though they largely stay peripheral. At the core of it all the film (expectedly) belongs to Harshvardhan and Saiyami, and both youngsters ensure that you watch them attentively when they emote. They bag your attention and you do connect with them.
However, this is also a part of the film when the whole Rajasthani exotic dance narrative goes a little overboard. Honestly, you want to watch the two youngsters more than a bunch of dancers filling up the frames (for duration ranging from 20 seconds to 2 minutes) but since Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra has adopted a unique narrative for the film, you wait for the time when the focus shifts back to Harshvardhan and Saiyami.
This is the reason why the second half keeps you glued even better since the love story has developed better by now and the conflict emerges on screen. With Saiyami’s father (played by Art Malik) getting into the thick of things and the two youngsters getting into a rebellious zone, you are more interested than before to check out what would unfold next. This is also the time when the folklore starts approaching its climax and once all ends are tied with the present and the past coming together, you invest yourself emotionally too. Reason being that the last 15-20 minutes are truly arresting and you make you relive both the tales (simultaneously), hence making Mirzya a rather heavy-on-heart affair.
What does stay in your heart is the honesty with which Harshvardhan and Saiyami play their parts. Harshvardhan, a naturally good looking boy, doesn’t hesitate turning into a stable boy who is expected to be unkempt with a persona that is contrary to a quintessential hero launch. He does what he is expected to do via his performance though and this is where the earnest attitude is on display. As for his macho self, it is on display in the sequence where he turns all masculine as a warrior. Well done, as he brings on emotions across dimensions. As for Saiyami, she is a natural on screen. Right from being a girl next door to someone who is gearing up to be a princess to an exotic woman from the era gone who has lived amongst the warriors, she is a revelation. Clearly, she has prepared well for the part, and delivered.
In that aspect, the technical team of Mirzya, right from the cinematographer to the editor to the location in charge have delivered too as Mehra utilises the resources at his disposal pretty well and ensures that as an audio-visual experience, Mirzya truly works. Yes, in the process the storytelling does turn unconventional, especially in the first half. However, when it comes to hunting for something different, Mirzya fits the bill. Also, Mehra succeeds in ensuring that as young debutants, Harshvardhan and Saiyami shine well and more than just make their presence felt. All said and done, they are here to stay!