14th November 2020

Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari Is Fun While It Lasts

Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari

Starring: Manoj Bajpai,Diljit Dosanjh, Fatima Sana  Sheikh, Sripiya Pilagoaonkar, Anu Kapoor

Directed by:  Abhishek Sharma

Rating: ***

Suppose  Tom was a  Sardarji and  Jerry a Maharashtrian.And suppose, just for the  heck of it, they were  at war because Tom was dating Jerry’s sister? Funny, no?

Not the most original of  ideas for  a  rom-com on oneupmanship, this  comedy  has  the makings  of  quite  a  durable   laughathon. It’s  fun while it lasts, but falls short of  breath  by overstaying its welcome.  Who makes comedies that stretch to 2 hours and  15 minutes of playing-time? But  luckily I  didn’t find the  length unbearable,  thanks to Manoj  Bajpai and  Dilijit  Dosanjh whose killer vibes  for one another give the  comedy  the fuel and the fire that it needs to sustain itself  to the very end.The supporting cast, too, is  incredibly  in-mood, all revved  up to roar with the  uproar and  caress the chaos.

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Dosanjh is  no stranger to  light-toned  comedies. There is a childlike  innocence  amd an ingrained sense of mischief  to  his  personality that render themselves   effectively to the tongue-in-shriek  tone of this  retro-comedy. There is  a sequence where  Diljit tries to  impress his  girl  by  pretending to enjoy a Marathi  satirical play  with much noise and enethusiasm. Diljit  nails the part of the over-eager lover-boy,a Romeo with high hormones and low selfesteem, a variation on the role Rajkummar Rao plays in in this week’s  other  sunshiny  comedy Ludo.

Fatima Sana Sheikh as Manoj’s outwardly docile sister who  moonlights is a deejay may be shocking in her conduct for those times. Given today’s  scenario, she  is hardly  the rebel with a  cause that she’s meant to be.

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The era is  the early 1990s and there are no  cellphones. The  pager has  just come in. The  aura of  the  era of  Amitabh  Bachchan, Govinda and Mithun Chakraborty is  done in  an unobtrusive way.And except for one shot where we see an electricity switch that came  a good ten years later, the period details, the  taxis on the road and the non-toxic chit-chit  in the home  between  mother Supriya Pilgaonkar  and son Manoj Bajpai are  well played-out.he runs  a detective agency in the front room, she  operates  a beauty parlour in  the  backroom.

“Your job is to break people’s  lives mine is to beautify them,” Mama wisdom can be  quite  a showstopper.

Bajpai  in multiple disguises plays the “wedding  detective”  with  a wicked streak  and the most hideous drag act I’ve seen  in a  Hindi  film. I  must say Manoj carries the saree with  even less  grace than Akshay Kumar in Laxmmi. He  also carries off his character’s  wicked  activities(he  likes to spy on  men and break up their wedding and   marriages) with a full-on temerity .

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With  Bajpai and Dosanjh providing a fulsome fang-base  for  the funny scenes,  Suraj Pe Mangal  has the audience well hooked  to  its laugh line, moles warts and  all. The  last  act leading  to the climax is way  too tedious. Vijay Raaz’s unexpected  appearance in  the finale  livens  up the limping  closing act.He plays  a man with  OCD.  Of course  during those times it was not  known as OCD.

At one  point in  the  plot, Dosanjh’s  best-buddy-sidekick introduces  him to  a  new concept of  urban  wellbeing.cWohkya kehte hai? Cool!  That’s what this film tries to be, and  succeeds to  some extent. If only it hadn’t overstayed its welcome.

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