Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari
Director: Abhishek Sharma
Cast: Manoj Bajpayee, Diljit Dosanjh, Fatima Sana Shaikh
Released in theatres.
Director Abhishek Sharma’s Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari is set in 1995’s Mumbai. Recreating Mumbai of 25 years ago is still a task since so much has changed in the city’s infrastructure. For transition or establishing shots, Sharma uses archival footage of Mumbai. He sets the film in areas like Girgaum, Dadar, Fort and some other old colonies, where the vintage charm of the city is still intact. Sequences of the characters roaming through the city are achieved by neatly done visual/special effects.
Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari features Manoj Bajpayee as Madhu Mangal Rane, a private detective who spies on prospective grooms. He doesn’t want any girl to get married to a ‘bad guy’. His profession is illegal though. Mangal’s path crosses with Suraj Singh Dhillon, son of a dairy and tabela owner. An affable Diljit Dosanjh plays Suraj.
Suraj wants to marry a nice girl – Bharatiya Nari ka asli roop types (in 1995). So much has changed in 25 years in that department in urban India. Mangal breaks Suraj’s prospective marriage by clicking his photographs while drinking alcohol, loitering the streets and rash bike riding. Which Suraj was doing to act like a bad boy. Why? His friend tells him that bad boys look cool.
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Later, Suraj falls for Tulshi Rane (Fatima Sana Shaikh), Mangal’s younger sister. Mangal comes to know about this and the battle of Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari begins. The conflict seems a tad dated. It could still have been more engaging with a tight screenplay. Make no mistake, it is promised as a family entertainer. And it is one for sure. Sharma packs in all the elements. Nostalgia of the lovely 90s, humor, songs, meet-cutes, montages of romance blossoming and longing.
But often it requires some patience to sit through all of that. I watched this film in a theatre. Yes, this is the first Hindi film to release in theatres after the lockdown was lifted. Had it been an OTT release, I wouldn’t have minded watching this film in multiple intervals. The film is entertaining, but unfortunately in bits and parts.
Watch the trailer of Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari:
There are back stories and subplots happening here. Sharma and writers Rohan Shankar and Shokhi Banerjee try to stay authentic to the world and characters they have created. And they do a wonderful job while doing so. The film is mainly set in Girgaum, the hub of Maharashtrians. Non-Maharashtrians like Bajpayee, Fatima, and Annu Kapoor as their uncle play Maharashtrian characters in the film. They speak fluent Marathi for the most part. Even Diljit Dosanjh speaks in broken but impressive Marathi to impress Fatima’s character. This is the most accomplished Marathi diction that I have seen in Hindi films by non-Marathi actors. Manoj Pahwa and Seema Pahwa play the lovely Dhillons – Suraj’s parents. Vijay Raaz makes a hilarious cameo.
Bajpayee seems a tad awkward in over-the-top situations. Dosanjh is sincere and watchable. Fatima is spot on as a simple Marathi mulgi who lives a different parallel life once the sun sets. It is quite cynical to intellectualize each and every film and judge its meaning or purpose. Abhishek Sharma’s Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari definitely has genuine intentions of creating a feel-good, nostalgic family entertainer. And one must watch it with that purpose only. You will be entertained, but unfortunately in bits and parts. The film will eventually be available on ZEE5 Premium.