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Atrangi Re …Can Love Be Tragic & Funny At The Same Time?

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Atrangi Re

Atrangi Re(Disney+ Hotstar)

Starring: Dhanush, Sara Ali Khan & Akshay  Kumar

Directed  by  Aanand L Rai

Rating: ****

Atrangi Re, the best  film Aanand Rai has made since Tanu Weds Manu, left me in a  swirl  of feelings at  the end. The one  certainty that I came away with is this: we  have never seen anything like  this before.Writer  Himanshu Sharma has  penned a  paean to  that  weird thing  called love. There is pleasure and pain in that paean and there are couple of startling twists  in the tale  of twisted love  which  made me  thankful for  the  certainty that art offers. There  is no complication that cannot be fixed.

Original hai, boss! Ekdum original. Akshay Kumar plays Sajjad a hero like  never before.He is hero-worshipped  by Sara Ali Khan’s feisty  Bihari avatar Rinku in a way we’ve never seen  before. Rinku’s love for Sajjad re-defines that whole  commodious place where  the Indian rom-com loves to bask, but hardly ever  gets it right.

 This one does, and how! Every time Sara’s Rinku runs to hurl herself  into Sajjad’s warm embrace  a  thousand  unseen flowers  bloom in the  horizon.  But  sorry, the real hero of  the  film is not Sajjad. It is Vishu, the  Tamilian softhearted  doctor(who I suspect is Tamilian only  because he’s played by the  director’s favourite actor  the Tamilian Dhanush).He  is kidnapped  groom who  learns  only too soon that coercion is the steppingstone to  acceptance.

 Early in the  plot Vishu  shows himself to be heroic beyond  the cinematic definition  of the word.   There is a botched-up  engagement  ceremony where Rinku is  abused by the  hosts. Vishu takes her hand  and says, ‘Shaadi  zabardasti hui hai lekin biwi hai.’  It is one of the most heroic moments I’ve seen  in any recent film.

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Towards  the end  when one lie  could have  solved a very complex psychological situation ,Vishu sticks  to the truth. But it’s a very strange  truth about a  lie that  Rinku has been  living with since  her childhood.

Atrangi Re  is  a wondrous  unpredictable  journey into the heart  of  love . It is skillfully written  and  delicately directed by  a man who  recognizes  the nobility in  every human being. This a story  of  enormous  sacrifices  . There are episodes where we the audience  don’t know  whether to laugh or cry.  It is  also a deep-dive into mental  trauma and  illness brought on by events in the past  that leave  a deep scar.

This is eventually  a film about healing , filled with hope sunshine and  laughter,  Atrangi Re is a  terrific  way to end the  year.When the end-credits  rolled I  had tears in my eyes. Aanand  Rai ends his  exhilarating love triangle  by  sharing the  directorial  credits  with  composer A  R Rahman(watch out for  the heartbreaking  Tumhein mohabbat hai), lyricist  Irshad Kamil,and writer Himanshu Sharma.

Only a generous spirit  could make  a film as large-hearted as Atrangi Re. I wish Aanand Rai had controlled Sara Ali Khan’s exuberance. She tends to go over the  top.And that’s not where the  fragile emotions of  this film rest their head.

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