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MIRZYA - They killed MIRZA again after centuries, they just killed him once again like the betraying SAHIBA. (An unapologetic review by Bobby Sing)
08 Oct, 2016 | Movie Reviews / 2016 Releases / Inspired Movies (Alphabetical) / M

Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and Gulzar together retelling Punjab’s folk tale of Mirza-Sahiba introducing Anil Kapoor’s son Harshvardhan along with Saiyami Kher was enough to excite the filmgoers and there was a great buzz seen in the social media too when the teaser and trailers of MIRZYA were released followed by the unusual or experimental soundtrack made available on Youtube (the new-age way of releasing the soundtrack online).
However no such buzz was witnessed before the film’s release, probably because the makers themselves knew that they didn’t have a great product in hand and it will be suicidal to further raise the expectations by doing some heavy promotions. Sharing my personal expectations from the film, I never felt excited knowing the basic theme right from the start as it had nothing new to tell as per the storyline and therefore was only interested in the way director Rakesh Omprakash Mehra visualizes it on screen based on the screenplay/dialogues written by the veteran Gulzar, who with a Punjabi background was sure to add something unique into the script bringing in the novelty factor.
But shockingly MIRZYA comes up as a huge disappointment unexpectedly and I never thought Mehra and Gulzar together could make such a flat, repetitive and energy-less (supposedly) romantic film that doesn’t work even in a single scene from its first sequence to the last resulting in A BIG NOTHING, except a couple of above average songs and an eye-catching cinematography.
As a matter of fact, if cinematography can easily be rated as the only worth-talking feature  of MIRZYA in terms of visualization and presentation, then that too has been provided by an imported technician from the west, a Polish cinematographer Pawel Dyllus along with Australian action director Danny Baldwin, who no doubt excel in their individual departments well supported by the art director, especially in the sequences depicting the silent fantasy (with a touch of famous TV series “Game of Thrones”) and the stunning locations of Ladakh and Rajasthan.  
But again, are we supposed to watch and praise a film just because of its frames, art direction and cinematography ignoring everything else?
Made on an already known, paper-thin storyline with nothing new for the viewers, surprisingly the renowned writer-director duo present an utterly confusing story progression running on three parallel tracks (timelines) representing the past and the present. Following the similar ‘seen before’ format used in his RANG DE BASANTI (adapted in a pathetic manner), Mehra begins from a fantasy sequence denoting the past and then brings you back into the present focusing on the school days of his lead pair spent in Rajasthan (as always seen in traditional love stories like Laila-Majnu). In addition, he keeps throwing a third track in between showcasing a group of folk dancers over-reacting to the proceedings with some highly charged up dances and facial expressions making no connection whatsoever with the other two.
Don’t really know what the makers wished to portray with this kind of puzzling and indigestible ‘3-tier program’ frankly? And if a dear friend reading this would like to comment that this is art which I couldn’t understand……, then yes, I am certainly not able to understand this kind of forced, boring, unemotional, lethargic and unrelatable artistic expressions at all (quite thankfully!). I am all game for any kind of life enriching poetry painted on screen using many colourful backdrops, but definitely not when it is deliberately done to present some kind of ‘made to order classic’ to be very honest.
In straight words, a masterpiece cannot be made forcibly at will or on order, bringing in some foreign technicians as an enhancement to present your visual imagery.
Moreover, I failed to understand why Mehra and Gulzar decided to deduct PUNJAB out of a traditional folk tale of the region and the director presented both the main protagonist (Sahiba) and the brothers as some kind of foreigners (may be to impress the so called festival audience). Besides, though the past sequences were shot as a silent inclusion in the film (adding to the silly confusion), I truly missed the name SAHIBA in a film titled MIRZYA…… not mentioned even once in the entire story progression (or did I miss something enjoying my Nachos more!)
May be the acclaimed director was religiously following his strange but consistent career strategy of giving a big messy FLOP post his every HIT seen in the past as AKS-RDB-DELHI 6-BHAAG MILKHA BHAAG and now MIRZYA. Ironically he may successfully bounce back with his next film too in the coming years, but this is certainly not any sign of a great, thoughtful director as he is widely referred to in the trade circles and media.
On the other hand, it was really disheartening to see this kind of extremely slow paced, unexciting, depthless and stale screenplay penned by the genius GULZAR, blessed with an unparalleled experience of witnessing and participating in different schools of filmmaking in the past six decades.
On a personal note, I am a die-hard fan or mureed of Gulzar since the 80s and that’s the very reason I cannot appreciate MIRZYA at all, expressing the disappointment of a true fan with all due respect. In fact, will have to write with a heavy heart that it’s the impactless script of Gulzar only which remains the biggest culprit behind this colossal failure in reality.
Coming to the music, yes the film has a technically rich soundtrack featuring innovative arrangements and many interesting names as performers, but its also a highly overrated OST missing the much required instant connect with the audience. Contradicting the vision of a musical, the songs seem to be all forced into the narration coming one after another and despite being a good title track, Daler Mehndi’s high pitched voice actually starts annoying inserted in several uninspiring sequences along the changing timelines.
No doubt the lyrics are mostly fine including the regional touch too, but I would love to read them in a book penned by Gulzar instead of a lackluster soundtrack failing to deliver any highly melodious composition reaching my heart and soul. Honestly only three above-average songs manage to impress in the film, namely the title song, ‘Hitchki’ and ‘Teen Gawah’ among the cluster of many. Besides, the background score also remains like something trying to be too classy overlapped by the songs, along with the VFX using ‘the slow motion’ much more than required making it less exciting and tacky.
Lastly but most importantly if this is a kind of film planned, conceived and visualized for two young energetic debutants (including the son of a reputed star) then I would like to call it a highly irresponsible and directionless act from the veterans without any holding back. Hence instead of judging the performances of both Harshvardhan and Saiyami, I would humbly like to give them an urgent suggestion that forget the poor debut taking it out of your system, but do try to recall the people who wholeheartedly appreciated and praised this ‘bad film’ before its official release, as that should be your first eye-opener lesson in this fake show business.
Expressing it differently I found the gypsy girl sacrificing her life for love, having much more intensity, chemistry and sensuality in her eyes or act than any other person in the film including the lead pair. Unfortunately nothing great can be said about the supporting cast too wherein another British actor is strangely roped in to play the father and Om Puri remains wasted in just a two scene appearance.
Concluding it with another harsh comment, it really feels awkward to believe that these big names picked up a subject of MIRZA-SAHIBA to be made in a western style, forgetting all about its actual regional origin and the traditional composition associated with the folk tale spiritedly sung in Punjab since ages. Frankly for me it’s just like writing/making a film on HEER RANJHA without incorporating the cult composition of HEER killing the entire theme and folksy feel arrogantly.
In short,
You killed MIRZA once again after centuries dear Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and Gulzar,
which is an unpardonable act as per my personal opinion.
Sadly MIRZA-SAHIBA never got any great film made on their unique, tragic end explaining their individual perspectives.
Interestingly Harshvardhan’s ‘forgettable’ debut film MIRZYA made me recall his father Anil Kapoor’s poor dud HEER RANJHA released in 1992.
But then it still had the ‘Heer’ composition sung by the incomparable Reshmafrom Pakistan, just like the 1947 released MIRZA SAHIBA (Noorjehan’s last film before partition) had the Punjabi traditional song in its climax and 1957 released MIRZA SAHIBA (with Shammi Kapoor playing Mirza) had the cult composition incorporated in a dance track maintaining the sanctity.
Unfortunately or rather ridiculously, the present MIRZYA neither tells you why this is the only love story having the male name first instead of the female nor it makes you feel any lump in the throat or goosebumps listening to the original poetry. So if you do wish to feel the magic in its beautiful composition, then just forget about this unexpected misfire of 2016 and listen to this rare, unplugged MIRZA sung by Asa Singh Mastana (at the given link) remembering ‘Peelu’ - the original writer of the poetry from the 17th century.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1nM_5rUdSQ

After playing the above track, experience another modern but a highly emotional, heartfelt take on the story by Harbhajan Maan at the following link having a video too.
Much more effective and impactful than the latest soul-less MIRZYA, these two tracks would make you feel for the legendary story from heart and after listening to them (even if you don’t really understand the lyrics), I am sure you will also like to end the debate saying,
You killed MIRZA once again after centuries dear Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and Gulzar………. You just killed him once again like the betraying Sahiba”
Rating : 1.5 / 5
For interested friends,
more variations of the traditional composition can be heard at the following links :
The climax Punjabi track from Hindi film MIRZA SAHIBA (1947) – (Play it from 8 min 2 sec)
https://youtu.be/nIZ-cPe6jmE?t=8m2s
The earliest rendition by Alam Lohar (Pakistan).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZyOH66pKZ7s
By Daler Mehndi (in his first album released in the mid 90s)
https://youtu.be/cOKuUbc8L3w
By Arif Lohar (Alam Lohar’s son) at Coke Studio, Pakistan
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OmAJQyin_o
(Would soon share a detailed write-up on an exceptionally unique track recorded by us a decade back, sung by one of my dear friends, presenting a completely different vision of the folk-tale you would have never read or heard before for sure. So stay tuned till I find/upload it on Youtube in the coming week.)

Tags : Mirzya Film Review by Bobby Sing, MIRZYA Movie Review by Bobby Sing, MIRZYA An unapologetic review by Bobby Sing, Inspired from traditional folk love stories,New Hindi Films Reviews, New Hindi Movies Reviews, New Hindi Movies Released, New Bollywood Reviews, Bobby Talks Cinema Review, Reviews By Bobby Sing, New Hindi Films Reviews at bobbytalkscinema.com
08 Oct 2016 / Comment ( 2 )
Lalit Joshi
Fully agree with you. After watching the film I had the same feeling. Complete waste of a film. Great Cinematography can not cover the other weakness of a film.
Bobby Sing

Dear Lalit,
Thanks a lot for the kind support.
Keep Visiting and Writing in,
Cheers!

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