What a silly silly movie! It’s like Fitoor crossed with Mirzya crossed with Aashiqui 2 crossed with Half-Girlfriend. But oh boy are the songs GOOD. And also, sometimes you just want a really silly silly illogical over the top romance movie.
If I want to watch an AR Rahman scored film about how musicians develop their sound and find success and so on, I would watch Sarvam Thaala Mayam, that movie is GREAT. And has so much complicated build to the music. If I want to watch an AR Rahman movie about how Love will Inspire Art, and the magical connection between lovers, and all of that, then I will watch this movie.
This is Rahman’s first film as a producer, and I believe he also had input into the story. With that in mind, the idea of the central troubled composer and his musical journey as the Most Important Thing in the World feels a wee bit self-indulgent. But on the other hand, Rahman also reminds us that this story isn’t necessarily impossible. You do have these fabulous musical geniuses who pop up unexpectedly and take the world by storm. And you do have songs that kind of change the world. I don’t know if Rahman was inspired by a Magical Muse Love, but I don’t know that he WASN’T. So maybe this is all realistic? But probably not.
Forget realism is really where I should have started this review. Love is magic and powerful and unspoken and for all time. When your heart is broken, you should do Big Gestures, like burning things. When you are in love, you should do Romantic Things like plan to travel the world doing weird combo music and art shows. And so on and so forth.
With that genre as a baseline, this is a surprisingly decent film for a first time producer and director. Good direction, really astonishing visuals for the songs. All the actors are excellent, especially the lead Ehan Bhat and his friend Tenzing Dalha (from Axone!). And then there are fun little short appearances from Manisha Koirala and Lisa Ray. Gorgeous settings, that’s very original. Most of the film takes place in Shillong, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a film set primarily in Shillong. Little bit in Paris too, and Paris is always pretty. Or whatever European city is standing in for Paris, anyway, it’s pretty!
The bottom line is that the movie rises and falls on the songs. And Rahman pulls it off. Not gonna say it’s his best soundtrack ever, I still think that honor goes to Rang De Basanti. But “best Rahman soundtrack” is a really high bar. This not-best soundtrack is still good enough that I can believe each song section, the jazz performance, the rock performance, and even the “song that will change the WORLD” which ends it. If the songs had failed, this would be a laughably bad movie, like many other laughably bad movies that try to convince us Art is worth Everything (Tamasha, I am looking at you). But the songs work, so the whole movie works. In it’s own clumsy silly illogical fashion.
Also, LISA RAY AND MANISHA KOIRALA! All the 90s kids should be happy!