Marriage Material

Its a film written by Imtiaz Ali, and directed by Homi Adajania, who made Being Cyrus. So my expectations were sky high. Any criticism that ensues should be seen in that context. It is a film with several great moments, some comic, some poignant. Some of long single take shots are fantastic, and Deepika is brilliant. Having said all that let me tell you why I smelled something slightly spoilt at its core.

In one of the scenes, Veronica, played by Deepika, says that she saw something in Gautam (Saif) when no one else did. In fact I couldn’t see it even after watching the entire film. Our “hero” picks up girls, apparently successfully, using stale internet jokes. Has a casual relationship with Veronica, while he lives in her house, and pretends to be engaged to the more traditional Meera in from of his mother. Veronica then promptly wants to change everything about her caracter and become more like Meera. But by then the other two sides of the triangle have seen god in each other.

In fact I couldn’t see what Gautam saw in Meera (Diana Penty) either. She is bland as boiled water. The “ideal” indian girl who  cooks the meals and straightens the covers in the bedroom shared by the other two, while employed in one of the best firms in her field. What she sees in Gautam is a mystery as well.

Veronica’s absolute disintegration in a scene that starts with them going out to party is fabulous, and completes the destruction of her rebellious nature that begins with her putting on Meera’s clothes. Its a sad loss.

In short, whichever one of them wins, it had to be a triumph of “Adarsh Nari”. I wanted some stronger female traits to win here, but both were more than willing to making massive sacrifices for a guy aptly described as a “Pig” at one point in the film. All that guy has to do is be a guy. Never questioned, always desirable. This traditional misogyny was not expected from this team, and that soured what was a really solid film. This misogyny is nowhere near on the same level as that in low brow blockbusters of recent times, but when you invite the audience to come in carrying brains as well as hearts, you get deeper scrutiny.

PS: Notice the length of shots, some are really long, and well done. Dialogues are superb.  And by the way, its an intelligent film, and deserves to be seen.

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