On the first day first show for Meri Pyaari Bindu, the theatre was barely occupied and (no prizes for guessing) was populated with teenagers and college-going kids.
Produced by YRF, Meri Pyaari Bindu is a big gamble for its lead actress Parineeti Chopra, whose last film was way back in 2014. Although she has Golmaal 4 in the offing, all eyes were on her in this film.
Ayushmann Khurrana plays Abhimanyu Roy, a "fluff" writer whose best-selling stories are all about thrill, horror and objectifying women. He says he doesn't want to write real stuff or love stories because everyone is writing them.
He seems to have a great career, with many best-selling books. For some reason, however, he's stuck on his latest, which has been three years in the making. Something seems to be bothering him. We see him drink copius amounts of whiskey and eats bread with ketchup, while he works on a love story. It's a hard one for him to write.
Through his writing, and an introduction into his life (and Bindu's) we see a charming version of Kolkata's old world vibe. It's complemented admirably by an Amelie-esque background score and sharp dialogues. Through Abhimanyu's (adorably quirky) parents, we find out the reason for his overgrown-beard-and-overall-devdas-demeanour is his very own story of unrequited love. As he writes, we find out more about her — we see Bindu, as Abhimanyu does, a voice, singing 'Abhi Na Jao Chhodkar', a girl who is addicted to being the centre of attention. He is besotted by her.
We gradually find out more about Bindu. Abhimanyu and she are childhood friends. She's fairly fickle, always wanting to do a million things, although her ultimate dream is to be a singer.
Parineeti (Bindu) is painted through a lens of nostalgia. She's a manic pixie dream girl in the film, and, might we add, a fab singer too. Parineeti should really consider singing for herself in all her movies.
The narrative is peppered with flashbacks about Abhi and Bindu, and then we cut to the present day when Abhimanyu is writing about her, while listening to old songs.
The very first time they meet as kids, she gives him a Walkman with an old song and says, "Listen to this, it will change your life". It lays the foundation of their crazy, music-filled relationship. There are lots of old songs: 'Aaiye Meherbaan', 'Abhi Na Jao...', and the music ties everything together.
As they grow older, and different types of relationships emerge in their lives (girlfriends, boyfriends, 'it's complicated(s)') their relationship stays strong. They're not lovers but there's something special between them. It's all pretty organic, and it's finally great to see a film where the protagonists don't just magically fall in love with each other for existing. There's a whole arc between Abhi and Bindu.
The background score is brilliant. It's like a third character in Meri Pyaari Bindu.
What also keeps us glued is Parineeti. Bindu may be a caricature of a bubbly girl 'full of life', but Parineeti can act. Her face is so expressive and it's a joy to watch her emote. This role finally gives her enough to show her potential. There's a bit when she sings 'Do Naina Ek Kahaani' in a college competition and you can't keep your eyes off her face — or get enough of her voice.
Even when they move to different cities, they write to each other and keep in touch. Over time, however, it does wither away. Eventually, they meet after many years and their friendship is rekindled. What really works for the film is how they have set up the universe of Abhi and Bindu. The nostalgia factor spot on, but it also gives you an interesting juxtaposition because the characters are so contemporary. The emotions are realistic and not overdone.
Parineeti gives Bindu a sense of authenticity, and whenever Ayushmann goes into voice-over mode explaining what is going on in the scene (he's the narrator), he speaks like a writer. The situations are amplified and given a sense of drama — something all writers do.
Meri Pyaari Bindu doesn't insult your intelligence and yet gives you a dreamy story.
There's a really nice dialogue in the film that describes Bindu and Abhi's relationship perfectly: they're sitting on Marine Drive and she asks him if he remembers her old terrace room in Kolkata. He says he does. She tells him she used to go to that room whenever she was sad or happy. Then she says, "You are my terrace room, Abhi."
It is at this point when their chemistry grows on you, as you see Bindu and Abhi turn from friends into lovers.
This is also the point where the plot takes a crucial turn. Suffice it to say, there is a fracture in the Abhi-Bindu story. Unfortunately, this crisis point is also the least believable part about the film. It's like a forced conflict that was bound to happen because happily ever after can't come too early or too easily.
Even as the protagonists fade away, the music is one of the most powerful tools pulling this narrative together.
By the time Meri Pyaari Bindu moves towards its climax — which, incidentally, is as quirky as the film. This is a narrative that ages well. Quirky is an oft exploited word. But it really suits this film. The ending is a bit unconvincing and will leave you with many questions — in that sense, this is a true millennial film.
The film is not bereft of flaws, and definitely has some pacing issues. One thing, however, is certain; Parineeti is back. The talent we saw in Ladies vs Ricky Bahl shines even brighter in Meri Pyaari Bindu. The same goes for Ayushmann; this is the same actor who regaled us in Vicky Donor and Dum Laga Ke Haisha.
Last word? This is YRF's take on a 500 Days of Summer-type modern love. You'll be humming its tunes even as you walk out of the theatre.
Watch the trailer for Meri Pyaari Bindu:
Published Date: May 12, 2017 10:16 am | Updated Date: May 12, 2017 01:23 pm