‘Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari’ movie review: a sparkling romantic comedy
Movie: ‘Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari’
Director: Abhishek Sharma
Actors: Manoj Bajpayee, Diljit Dosanjh, Fatima Sana Shaikh, Annu Kapoor, Manoj Pahwa, Seema Pahwa, Vijay Raaz, Supriya Pilgaonkar
Stars: 2.5 out of 5
The stars line up somewhat perfectly in the social satire “Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari”, as a handful of talented actors form the backbone of this sporadic plunge and rise comedy.
In Abhishek Sharma’s romantic comedy set in Mumbai in the mid-1990s, seasoned actor Manoj Bajpayee disguises himself as mischievous wedding sleuth, Madhu Mangal Rane, who is an ace at digging up dirt on bride and groom.
The Evil Wedding Wrecker may not have the suave appeal of James Bond, but he does have a savior complex that’s hard to clean up. The aging bachelor believes his life’s mission is to save unsuspecting women and their families from unsuitable men. But he meets his equal when he crosses paths with an affable dairy offspring Suraj Singh Dhillon (Diljit Dosanjh). Madhu finds incriminating evidence against Suraj and destroys a possible marriage for him, earning the anger of the disgruntled bachelor.
“Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari” attacks the tradition of arranged marriages in India and a family’s obsession with finding a “cultivated” wife (read without ambition).
“Do you know how hard it is to find an uneducated daughter-in-law and wife these days? Remarks Suraj’s mother – effectively played by Seema Pahwa.
The film makes you laugh at yourself and the archaic customs that some Indians have adopted. But what makes this comedy vibrate are the engaging and endearing performances of the actors.
While Dosanjh is adorable as a kind-hearted Punjabi, Fatima Sana Shaikh excels in her role as Madhu’s vivacious sister, Tulsi Rane (pronounced Tursi as a nod to her Maharashtrian roots) who aspires to be a DJ.
His bossy brother may be an expert at spying on young men and gathering evidence of their dirty habits, but he has no idea what’s going on in his own home. He is stubborn and Bajpayee brings the film to life. But it is Dosanjh’s malicious acts that are close to our hearts. His turn as a descendant of a dairy company is as heartwarming as the pure ghee (clarified butter) his family sells. It is Dosanjh and Bajpayee’s battle of wills that makes this comedy gripping.
Shaikh is suitably charming in her role as a young woman prone to be reckless with her life. But be aware that the lactose jokes gave us heartburn and the second half gets tiring with these two men trying to pull each other off.
Some of the twists and turns of the second half may seem forced, but the film has some sparkling, easy-witted moments. But what drives the film – when the jokes start to fall flat – are the effective performances of the supporting actors. Supriya Pilgaonkar as Bajpayee’s sarcastic mother is on the spot. Her verbal fight with her son as she mocks her occupation and advanced age goes smoothly.
While the first half unfolds quickly, the second half is derailed by unwanted storytelling. But just like a glass of cold milk, the movie is eerily heartwarming, but the lard – in terms of the storyline – might keep you from fully enjoying it. A good overview of some twists and turns would have made this comedy sharper.
Don’t miss it!
‘Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari’ is now available in UAE cinemas.