Director: Aanand L. Rai.
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Dhanush, Sara Ali Khan, Seema Biswas.
Sara Ali Khan, in the trailer of Atrangi Re, and in interviews, has been vocal about the right of a woman to love two men at the same time. Going into the film, if you expected more than just lip service to women’s lib, you might be disappointed. Atrangi Re, directed by Aanand L. Rai, is colourful in its premise as well as characters, but isn’t what it seems to be on the surface. The narrative includes a major twist in the plotline, which completely changes the messaging of the film.
Aanand L. Rai has a penchant for nicely wrapping a thought in colourful clothes, Bollywood dance sequences, with an outspoken, interesting female character at the centre of the story. We have seen that in Tanu Weds Manu and Raanjhanaa. Atrangi Re’s Rinku seems quite like the natural next step for the director in his repertoire of movies.
Sara Ali Khan plays a ‘dabangg’ girl from Bihar – there is no other word that could probably describe her character Rinku, better. Orphaned at a young age, she has learned to fight for what she wants. Rinku is forced to marry a kidnapped doctor-in-the-making S. Vishwanath Iyer (Dhanush), a Tamilian from Chennai visiting her hometown.
Vishu is supposed to get engaged to his girlfriend Mandakini, aka Mandy (Dimple Hayathi), the daughter of his dean, while Rinku has been in love with a Muslim man for years – magician Sajjad Ali Khan (Akshay Kumar).
The film begins on a dramatic note with Rinku frenetically running away from home, and that is the mood maintained all through the film. She’s spotted running pretty often, both to and from her problems. Despite being an emotional story, a sense of fast-paced drama has been successfully maintained.
Sara Ali Khan is perfect as the rustic and boisterous Rinku, a role tailormade for her. You relate with her from the very first scene, and she never comes off as awkward or incongruous even while mouthing the most ridiculous threats to her own grandmother.
Dhanush balances out Sara’s north Indian histrionics with his quiet, mature demeanour. His scenes will often remind you of Raanjhanaa, although his character is quite of the opposite kind here. Dhanush charms you with is subtle yet effective performance, and there are times where your heart goes out for him. He never tries to match Sara’s pitch, rather keeps his down low, to let her shine in the scenes.
Atrangi Re, much like Raanjhanaa, touches upon several societal issues in the backdrop of a love story that seems like an impossibility in real life. But one can dream, and that’s the hope that the narrator has tried to peddle. The vibrant frames, uplifting production design and a light-hearted approach keeps the mood upbeat. There’s never a dull moment in this colourful story.
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