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“Meenakshi Sundareshwar” Movie Review – Implausible & Flat

Meenakshi Sundareshwar is a 2021 Indian Hindi-language romantic comedy film directed by Vivek Soni featuring Abhimanyu Dassani and Sanya Malhotra in lead roles.

Review Overview

Rating

Summary

Implausible & Flat

Way back in 1969, there was a hit Jeetendra film called Jeene Ki Raah. In veteran LV Prasad’s family drama, the much-married hero had to pretend to be a bachelor to get a job he desperately needed.

Imagine extrapolating that thought in 2021, that too in the IT hub of Bengaluru. In an era known for its overactive social media where background checks are just a click away, writer-director Vivek Soni attempts the absurd premise of an IT boss insisting on hiring only singles as trainee-interns and newly-wed Sundareshwar (Abhimanyu) actually getting away with the bachelor act. I guess this ‘smart’ IT firm requires no bio-data, does no background checks and nobody saw Sundareshwar’s marriage photographs on Facebook or Insta. In that strange IT company, girlfriends and steadies are allowed, by the way.

Almost at the end of a tiresome 2 hrs 21 mins, even sneaky colleague, Sai Kumar (Chetan Sharma) learns about his marital status only after surreptitiously checking out Sundareshwar’s mobile phone before ratting him out to the boss.

Soni’s list of the implausible continues. Wife Meenakshi (Sanya Malhotra) pays Sundareshwar a surprise visit on his birthday even though he has hidden nothing from her and she supports him. She also alights from a cab and breaks into a dance on the Bengaluru road all by herself but ten minutes later, announces that his father and nephew have come with her. The next scene has Sundareshwar climbing a pipe to sneak his nephew into the guest house Meenakshi and his father have checked
into. I couldn’t fathom why. Nor found it funny.

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Equally baffling was why feminist Meenakshi was miffed for the rest of the film after catching Sundareshwar partying with his buddies on his birthday. Can’t husbands in long-distance marriages find friendship with colleagues and let their hair down on a special occasion?

The next morning, the train pulls out of Bengaluru with his father and nephew in a different compartment and Meenakshi travelling alone. Again, why? There were other men in her compartment. On reaching Madurai, she takes a rickshaw and asks the driver to take her to “a sad place”. What happened to her father-in-law and nephew who were on the same train?

Perhaps one is not supposed to look for logic in a comedy. But where was the comedy? In Sai Kumar’s recipe for a hangover and subsequent vomit?

It’s a pity that Soni’s film falls so flat because it had a promising start with a merry mix-up in the formally arranged meeting between Rajnikanth fan Meenakshi and engineer Sundareshwar. But in the city of Madurai, famous for its Meenakshi Sundareswarar temple where Shiva and Parvati reside, it’s ordained that a girl named Meenakshi and a boy named Sundareshwar wed and be together.

It’s fresh and frothy right till Sundareshwar spends his first night preparing for a job interview, with Meenakshi encouraging him to chase his own dream instead of joining the family business.

But once he lands that job in Bengaluru with the incomprehensible singles-only stipulation, Vivek Soni blunders big.

The literal kiss-and-makeup end is acceptable and so is Meenakshi’s gorgeous saree collection. Also liked the dance she does with his shirt after an un-consummated first night.

But who wakes up in a crisply ironed saree with fresh lipstick?

Some may find it cute but when Soni’s characters include the hero’s older brother who overeats all the time, humour is the casualty. Throwing in an unnecessary male friend from Meenakshi’s college days who uncharacteristically turns obnoxious over a saree doesn’t move the plot. Binge-eating ice cream, stress drinking on the terrace, a mandatory face from the North East, and a cactus stirring emotion, are some of Soni’s other inanities. Considering it’s all about a couple that had to separate before a honeymoon, how can you have commonplace lyrics that talk of days and nights and
evenings spent together?

“Movies put me to sleep,” says Sundareshwar more than once.

Perhaps he was referring to his own film.

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