Back before I started this blog, instead of writing for you nice people, I wrote long long long epic length emails to friends about movies I had seen. And since I am completely exhausted this week, we are taking a trip back in time and this is a post based on one of those emails, plus my memories of the film.
Moviemavengal lent me her copy of Mr. Perfect about two years ago, in the post-Bahubali 1 Prabhas love haze. And it took me two tries to finished it. I got about twenty minutes in, and then I just wasn’t feeling it, so I stopped. But on the second try, I got past the set-up bit, and I loved it! Or else I was just in the right mood the second night.
One of my big problems with the beginning, was that it was supposed to be a big hero intro, but I just didn’t like him! But then there was an intense glaring scene which won me over, because it is just So Hot. And so tall! I think there were a lot of lines of dialogue about it to? Calling him a “tall tree” and stuff?
(The hair still isn’t quite there, but SO TALL!)
Kajal was delightful, almost made up for Magadheera. But still not quite as good as she was in Singham (I love Singham). I really liked her character though. A strong woman, who was also caring and wise and all of those things, to go along with her temple.
The general question of the film fascinated me. Well, two general questions. The other one will have to go into spoilers. But before spoilers, I can talk generally about how I liked the differentiation between his life in Australia and her life in the village because it was more than just “village is best!” It was saying, correctly, that she is leading a full life with multiple responsibilities and human connections, and he is living a life that is just work and fun with friends, and his life is emptier. Which is sort of the opposite of Bangelore Days! Except not really, more like Bangalore Days was showing that if you know you will be living in the city with no parents the rest of your life, then you start building a real community. But if you are Prabhas, in Australia for 3 years and then home, you don’t.
Which is something I see all the time among people my age! Most of my close friends, Chicago is their hometown, their family lives nearby, they have a whole variety of responsibilities and ways of being part of the community, but then every once and I while I will meet someone who is clearly just here because they think it would be a cool/fun place to live for a few years and they know the beaches and the cool clubs and all, but they don’t really know anything else. I hate those people and always try to avoid them at parties, because their conversations are so boring! Anyway, I thought that comparison between their lives tied in really nicely with the overall theme, that relationships are work and compromise, but without them your life is empty.
And to talk about the other things I liked, I have to put in SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS
Our hero is living in Australia trying to achieve the “perfect” life (thus the title). He wants it all tidy and ideal and no problems. He goes back to India to visit his family and they try to convince him to marry the girl next door, who he always fought with as a child and is fighting with again now.
Only, slowly, they come to fall in love. He falls in love with her spunkiness, and her kindness, the way she gives to the whole community and is so centered. And she falls in love with his confidence, and his care for her, and his different way of thinking. It’s a really great romance, with a lot of time spent on the two of them together.
For instance, I loved how he handled the eve-teaser guy who was bothering her. He immediately grabs the guy and stops him. But then instead of beating him up, suggests that he find a different girl who is actually interested back. Because it explained so nicely one theory as to why India has such an issue with sexual assault, that boys never learn any normal healthy way to interact with girls and vice versa, so the solution isn’t seclusion, but more interaction so you can meet someone who actually likes you and vice versa.
Later, of course, there actually is a fight scene and I loved his reaction to her helping in the fight scene, he was so upset, and he hated the idea of her being hurt because of him, which was different from the usual “I am so touched and in love and it is so awesome that you were hurt for me!” He sincerely didn’t want any sacrifices from anyone else, it wasn’t just a pose.
After all this time, they fall in love and go along with the family engagement. And then, at the last minute, Prabhas announces he won’t go through with it. Because things have changed and it’s no longer “perfect”. But for HER, not for him. His India job fell through, his career is going to take him overseas again, and while she is willing to give up her life and follow him, he is not willing for her to make that kind of change.
I liked the build towards the rejection at the wedding. I knew it was coming (because moviemavengal told me) and I was all set for it to happen out of nowhere, but it actually was kind of reasonable and believable! Their lives were very different, he had already seen her change a lot of herself, and then his friend tells him he is getting a divorce, it would be a natural reaction to take a step back and say they should stop this marriage before it happens. Plus, it wasn’t one of those “she will be ruined forever!” kind of engagement breakings I was afraid of, where he really would be a jerk, it was still in an informal within the family level, and it was kind of the right thing to do something real quick at that point if you had any doubts (we’ve seen plenty of movies where they went ahead with the engagement and there was a big scandal later!).
But the big thing I kept thinking about, and this is a kind of odd connection, is comments about American TV shows like the Mindy Project, New Girl, Friends, The Big Bang Theory, which show a longtime couple go from “first love” to a relationship of long standing. And when the show in later seasons becomes more about conflict instead of infatuation, the light-hearted “OMG, so cute!” kind of comments and reviews I sometimes read online become super contentious about it, and it’s the exact same argument as this movie!
(Also, Alaipayuthey/Saathiya get this)
Some people say “It’s completely unrealistic, they were so in love and happy and agreed on everything, and now they are totally different people, this came out of nowhere!’ and “she/he should just leave him/her, they don’t get along anymore!” And then other people say “Well, this is what happens, you’re in love and you sort of ignore or don’t care about differences, and then you have a baby and you both change in a lot of ways, but you can’t just walk away from it.”
And this is all just mindless prejudice and assumptions about anonymous internet commentators, but it feels like the people who are coming at it from the more extreme side of “just leave him, this is so horrible and unrealistic!” side of it might be more at the place that Prabhas is in his life, where everyone is still carefree and without real responsibilities, so there is no need to ever adjust to anything. And the people on the other side might be coming at it from more of a Kajal/their parents side of things where you have to constantly do things you don’t want to do for people you care about, but your life ends up so much richer for it.
The second half, in which Prabhas goes back to India, meets Taapsee (Taapsee! I will love you so much more in Running Shaadi!) who really is the perfect woman for him, goes through a bunch of hoops to win over her and her family, but ultimately realizes that he wants Kajal after all, he wants a love that involves differences and sacrifice, not just easy perfection.
But I still had some problems with the end which seemed to be saying that it was okay and normal for her to change everything about herself when she fell in love. I think the ending bit was trying to walk that back a little, but I needed just a little bit more.
(also, I fast-forwarded a lot of the comedy uncle bits, but I don’t think I missed anything important)