Meenakshi Sundareshwar review: The Sanya Malhotra- Abhimanyu Dassani starrer suffers the problem of oversimplification
Meenakshi Sundareshwar- or Parvati and Shiv. A couple who has redefined love, and whose blessings couples and people in general seek before they embark on a new journey. So when the makers decided to name their characters Meenakshi and Sundereshwar and get them married a show a film on the complexities of long distance marriage, we should believe that they wanted divine blessings for the project. However, the project turns out to be just average!
Let’s just put the story in brief before we get into the review. Meenakshi (Sanya Malhotra) and Sundareshwar (Abhimanyu Dassani) meet in an arranged marriage setup, even though they weren’t supposed to, thanks to some divine intervention! They click, and get married in the Meenakshi Sundereshwar temple. In the time when they are supposed to get to know each other and spend time together, they are separated- thanks to Sunder’s new job at Bangalore. Things don’t get better as the two realise they have to stay away from each other- for a year! Without building the understanding, would the duo be able to survive in an institution like marriage?
The biggest problem that I felt the film had was how everything was oversimplified. There are several problems that this marriage has- Meenakshi has to stay away from her husband, there is not anyone to match her spunk in the new house that she has become a part of, she can’t take up a job and most importantly she has to adjust to a house and the person who connects her with others isn’t there. Moreover, her relationship with her husband also stands on shaky grounds, since they are basically two strangers. Now, navigating these problems, finding solutions can actually make for a great film, but the film deals with everything at a very superficial level. The resolution presented at the end is really an example in oversimplification.
One thing the film was criticised for when the trailer and teaser came out was the representation of Tamil culture. Many Tamilians claimed that it stereotyped them. Now, I am a Bengali, who hasn’t been much exposed to the culture, and therefore, I have the shortcoming on not being able to comment on that. But no, the film doesn’t show every Tamilian to be a Rajinikanth worshipping person, and no Carnatic music doesn’t play everyday at the households. But yeah, why are the Tamilians speaking in Hindi though?
The film has several good aspects too- for example the acting, the cinematography, and the background score. Sanya Malhotra has the ability to sink her teeth into the character she portrays and she plays Meenakshi will all earnestness too. She is quirky and lovable and shows Meenakshi’s vulnerabilities, her insecurities and her dilemma with perfection. Abhimanyu plays the naïve and goody-two-shoes Sundar who puts his career ahead of Meenakshi (obviously, coz they are still kind of strangers). It is in the long distance that he has to set his priorities. Abhimanyu was a wonder in his debut, Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota. In this film too, he is spontaneous. But here, we do see him falter at a few instances, but he recovers quickly and makes you root for his character.
The cinematography is crisp and good. You would love the scenes, the sequences and the camera angles. However, we have a major complaint about the editing. It stretches too long and could have been o much more crisp. The background score and the music are also beautiful, and it was so refreshing to see these songs merge so seamlessly with the narrative.Hands down Man Kesar Kesar is one of the most soothing and beautiful songs I have heard in a while.
Overall, Meenakshi Sundereshwar does have some faults, major ones in the script if we may say so. It lacks the depth that was necessary at many instances. However, you cannot truly dismiss this one and it deserves one watch, at least.