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Review: Innumerable Facepalm Moments Prove to be Atrangi Re's Undoing

Atrangi Re has premiered on Disney+Hotstar.

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Never mind how baffling or absurd a premise might seem, sometimes the success of a love story depends on how much it makes us care for its characters and root for their union. Atrangi Re, weirdly enough, never trusts us with being up, close and personal with its protagonists. Director Aanand L Rai and writer Himanshu Sharma always keep us at a safe distance, feeding us basic details and nudging us to respond accordingly.

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The first time we meet Rinku (Sara Ali Khan), she is being chased by a group of men in jeeps, with ominous music in the background. The girl puts up a spirited defence, throws bottles and gaalis around, unabashedly and eventually succumbs to only the jabs of the resident matriarch, her nani (played by a fierce Seema Biswas). Rinku is being accused of trying to run away with her lover. Observing Rinku fending off the attackers at the railway station is a medical student Vishu (Dhanush), who then is hurriedly whisked away by his friends. The setting is Siwan in Bihar. Soon, Vishu and Rinku’s paths will cross in the most unexpected of ways and for all his efforts to keep out of harm's way the two are forcibly tied into holy matrimony.

Atrangi Re has premiered on Disney+Hotstar.

Sara Ali Khan & Dhanush in Atrangi Re.

(Photo Courtesy: Pinterest)

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Now what? Now yours truly will try to critique the specious plot without revealing any spoilers. Vishu and Rinku are very different people, as their train conversation will reveal. It’s the first time they actually talk to each other. While he is at his wits end about how to salvage the situation, she seems comfortable taking charge. Rinku has a warped notion of how epic love stories should be and speaks of her lover with a twinkle in her eyes. He, on the other hand, seems more practical, fears his degree will be in jeopardy if he ditches the Dean’s daughter. The whole party- Rinku, Vishu and friend Madhu (played by a solid Ashish Verma) arrive in Madurai.


That’s where A.R Rahman’s 'Chaka Chak' plays out in slightly perplexing conditions.

Atrangi Re has premiered on Disney+Hotstar.

Sara Ali Khan in Atrangi Re.

Rinku deserves our sympathy. As details bleed out, however inconsistently, they paint a picture of a pitiable character at the receiving end of an unloving family. She seems to be struggling with some demons of her past. Rinku has a deep-rooted trauma, which scars her present day realities. It's disconcerting how unsympathetically the film treats the predicament of its own heroine. For easy laughs nothing seems off limits- not emotional wounds, or mental illness.

The bewilderingly logic-free story falters many times before it reaches its denouement. Most of these are to do with the laughable knowledge of psychology and mental illnesses. It's infuriating because the hero and his friend are doctors.

The vertex of this love triangle is a jaadugar Sajjad Ali Khan. Akshay Kumar saunters in and plays it in a way like he doesn’t really care. The emotional depths Atrangi Re could have reached had it not been so eager to garner easy laughs or consider the audience inept in handling complex emotions comes in nearing the end. It’s a flashback sequence, without dialogues and throbbing with Rahman’s composition that puts in context Rinku’s pain and shows us what love can conquer. It’s heartbreaking and arresting, but the film goes back to spoon-feed us with scenes and dialogues bordering on unintentional comedy that belies its true meaning.

Atrangi Re has premiered on Disney+Hotstar.

Akshay Kumar in Atrangi Re.

Sara’s sincerity is admirable and Dhanush gives it his all despite being given a half-baked character, but Atrangi Re is made up of several facepalm moments that prove to be its undoing.

Our Rating: 2 Quints out of 5

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