Before his recent releases like Brahmastra and Shamshera, Ranbir Kapoor had solidified his presence in the Bollywood rom-com world with films like Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani and Bachna Ae Haseeno. The actor has now returned to the space with Luv Ranjan’s Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar.
Kapoor as a break-up specialist Rohan Arora (Mickey) puts up a great act and while some movements are needlessly exaggerated, the actor manages to keep pace with the film.
Some of the dialogues he is given are corny but he tries his best to imbibe the lines with some ‘silliness’ that works at times. Further the film is peppered with references to the lead actors’ past films and while some land, others feel forced and out of place.
Shraddha Kapoor as Nisha Malhotra (Tinni), is refreshing to watch. While her character remains one-dimensional under the garb of seemingly having layers, the actor is endearing and immensely watchable for the most part. In some instances the actor does lose her grip on the source material but the absurdity of the scenes are perhaps more to blame there.
The story is simple: Mickey and Tinni meet during a bachelorette. Eventually, they fall in love and decide to get married but one of them gets cold feet.
Ranbir Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor have undeniable chemistry and for a rom-com, that’s a clear win. And it doesn’t hurt that they’re both great performers.
Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar takes a page out of the old Bollywood rulebook and infuses multiple dance numbers into the narrative.
Do these song-and-dance numbers make sense? Maybe not but the Pritam and Amitabh Bhattacharya duo creates multiple catchy numbers.
Circling back to the cast, the star to watch out for in Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar is Dimple Kapadia as Mickey’s mother Renu. She and Jatinder Kaur (Mickey’s grandmother) have excellent comedic chemistry and together build the climax up to become one of the most enjoyable segments of the film.
Comedian Anubhav Singh Bassi as Mickey aka Rohan’s best friend and partner-in-crime has great comedic timing but beyond jokes, he doesn’t do much to create a character. When he isn’t slinging one-liners, his character very easily falls into the 'hero’s best friend' trope.
The film’s biggest problem, however, is something we’ve seen in Ranjan’s films before.
Every time the film seems to be gaining some steam, a sexist ‘joke’ reminiscent of WhatsApp forwards about married life pulls you back to your surroundings.
‘Love’ and violence are somehow intertwined in the film with many of the male characters being slapped for comedic effect. It creates a problematic binary where men being slapped is considered ‘comedic’ and women are portrayed as perpetrators of reckless violence because aadmi toh seh lega (the man is going to tolerate it).
Even the primary point of contention between the main leads is presented as the woman’s fault – her extremely valid concerns are underplayed which is even more evident by the film’s resolution.
The film is written by director Luv Ranjan and Rahul Mody who has previously collaborated with the latter on Pyaar Ka Punchnama 2 and Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety. The script picks up considerably in the second half in large part due to the pitch perfect comedic performances of Kapoor as Mickey and his family.
Since the film has an interesting premise and setup, a better understanding of the characters’ motivations and emotional stakes would’ve elevated the script above what it is (considering of course that the sexism doesn’t exist in this draft).
That brings me to the film’s other flaw – its reliance on past successes. For instance, actor Kartik Aaryan shot to fame after his ‘Problem ye hai ki-’ monologue from Ranjan’s Pyaar Ka Punchnama went viral. In this film, too, one rambling monologue is followed by another to the point of becoming tiresome.
DOP Santhana Krishnan Ravichandran’s cinematography captures the beauty of the exotic locales the film is shot in beautifully. But in some places, the absolute pristine nature of the shots makes them almost look like an advertisement even though there are no products to be seen. The frames jump out of the screen at times which does hamper the viewing experience.
Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar doesn’t try to be more than it is advertised to be and at first sight; it can even be considered entertaining. However, once you start to peel apart the layers, its flaws are laid bare and one wonders if Bollywood will ever grow out of those tropes.
Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar, starring Ranbir Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor, hits theatres on 8 March.
Rating: 2 Quints out of 5