A cute date movie replete with great music and confident debuts
The last few years have witnessed the emergence of many star kids despite the growing nepotism debate raked through a random episode on a famous chat show. (Should I really get into details?) But ‘Malaal’ starring Meezaan Jaffery and Sharmin Segal prove that a great story can elevate and empower raw performances.
‘Malaal’ is the Hindi adaptation of K Selvaraghavan’s Tamil original ‘7G Rainbow Colony’ and the film has already been remade in three other Indian languages namely, Bengali, Odia and Kannada. Directed by Mangesh Hadawale, the film puts out the message of redemption through love effectively without overt indulgence in drama, a staple that most films from the Bhansali cinematic universe suffer from.
Shiva More (Meezaan) is your regular useless guy next door seeking acceptance from a dissenting father, who finds no good in him. He compensates for his lack of intellect by indulging in petty street fights and acquiring trophies from sports activities in the neighbourhood. He is noticed by a local politician (Sameer Dharmadhikari) and is tasked with the responsibility of keeping outsiders away from encroaching upon the city. When Astha Tripathi (Sharmin) lands up in his chawl with her family, Shiva is wary initially but following a few confrontations, grows fond of her.
The dialogues and screenplay by Hadawale and Sanjay Leela Bhansali stick true to the milieu of Mumbai’s chawl life. Since the story is based in 1998, the production, set design and dialogues seem period-appropriate. Cinematographer Ragul Dharuman captures the rusticity of Shiva’s surroundings while giving us flattering close-ups of his leads. The running length of the film could’ve been trimmed down by half an hour though. But ‘Malaal’s biggest strength lies in its music by Bhansali. The soundtrack boasts of young Marathi voices though it does features Bhansali’s favourites Shreya Ghoshal and Shail Hada. The music is homegrown and sticks true to the compositions heard usually in Marathi films. Totally hooked onto ‘Aai Shappat’.
Sharmin and Meezaan strike confident debuts on their part though the rawness shows in certain scenes. But the sincerity and earnestness is unmistakable. Great casting choice made with Chinmayee Surve who plays the role of Shiva’s mother. Dharmadhikari is however sidelined and is saddled with screen-time usually reserved for a cameo.
The release of ‘Malaal’ is timely enough to find an audience among college-going youngsters and for cinemagoers who prefer good, old-school romance.