Mitron Review: A hit and a miss kind of film
While the film does fall into predictable terrain for a considerable time of its two-hour plot, it is those parts that work within the confines of its specific social milieu that make it watchable
Mitron is a hit and miss kind of film. This Hindi adaptation of the successful 2016 Telugu romantic comedy, Pelli Choopulu, presents a more novel spin on the whole middle-class arranged marriage premise for mainstream Indian cinema. While it does fall into predictable terrain for a considerable duration of its two-hour plot, it is those parts that work (and work well, at that) within the confines of its specific social milieu, that make the film rather watchable.
It begins somewhat like this: a boy from a Gujarati middle-class home is being driven (against his will, as it appears) to meet a girl of a similar social standing for the purpose of shaadi talk. The said boy is well-meaning yet unmotivated, and for all intents and purposes, a sad sack. The said girl is more confident than the guy who is about to walk through her door, and is being emotionally blackmailed by her father into meeting prospective grooms. All this sounds quite familiar, I assume?
Director – Nitin Kakkar
Cast – Jackky Bhagnani, Kritika Kamra, Pratik Gandhi, Shivam Parekh, Neeraj Sood
Their first encounter is, predictably, an awkward one. Jackky Bhagnani’s Jai (after listening to his old man complain constantly on the car ride) runs into Kritika Kamra’s Avni at the latter’s home mere minutes before the respective families are introduced to one another. Fate plays a pivotal role as Jai requests to use the bathroom, and Avni lets him use hers on the first floor. Her little nephew (also in the room) accidentally jams the door, resulting in a locked-in type situation. Asking how exactly that happened or why it took so long for the people outside to consider prying it open, would be to question the very premise on which the whole film is based – and that will be unfair of me. So, we take the door-jamming scenario at face value, and proceed.
Avni’s folks are pleased with the current predicament, as they wish for the two to spend the forced proximity to get to know each other. So much so, tea and samosas are enthusiastically sent up with the assistance of a makeshift pulley. Before a down-on-his-luck Jai can begin, Avni tells him that she has no interest in getting married as she wishes to move to Australia for a career. Jai smiles and proceeds for the door, but is reminded that it is still jammed. They kill time by speaking about their individual dreams and aspirations, only to realise by the end of their long conversation (when the families finally force their way in) that there has been a huge mix-up.
The introduction of Prateik Babbar’s character (as Avni’s first boyfriend from her MBA course) is handled very poorly. Seen as a flashback from Avni’s perspective, the hunky senior intrudes into one of her classes and proceeds to inform the professor that her father has been involved in an accident. All this is, of course, a ruse, for him to get her attention. She is initially annoyed by this unacceptable behaviour, but his mildly cocky manner and consummate self-assurance begin drawing her in. On the other end of the spectrum, bechara Jai goes out with a gold-digger (also a colleague at the call centre in which he works) who takes him for a right royal ride owing to his trusting nature. These sequences, that play back-to-back, as the leads recount their respective pasts, reek of not just multiple clichés, but allude to certain traditional gender stereotypes and tropes that romantic comedy films cash in on the world over. Though the film markets itself as a romantic comedy, the main instances of genuine humour come in the exchanges between Jai and his father. Played by Neeraj Sood, Jai’s dad represents hundreds of thousands of fathers scattered across the varied Indian middle-class landscape.
Much to the audience’s hilarity, his character berates that of Bhagnani’s, by stressing how indolent he is, how he will amount to nothing if he keeps whiling away his precious time with friends, how no woman will respect him if he doesn’t get a decent job and earn for his family, how dreams don’t just come true by dreaming (one must work hard/fight tooth and nail to succeed, and so forth). He forever chastises his nalayak beta in not so much an angry manner, as would be expected, but in a way that is highly patronising and sarcastic. So many of Sood’s multilingual barbs (switching seamlessly from Gujarati to Hindi, and sometimes even English) are laced with such wit, that you cannot help but laugh out loud at the message being driven home. His true-to-life portrayal of a conservative father’s anguish, anger, and exasperation makes Neeraj Sood’s supporting act the standout in Mitron. Even Jai’s friend, Raunak (Pratik Gandhi), has two or three half-decent cameos of humour. His punchlines about ‘frankness’ as he mocks the former’s prospective father-in-law mercilessly, are indeed worth mentioning. The two leads, however, aren’t a good fit for the genre of comedy. Their momentary flashes come, but only in some scenes of palatable drama. One such sequence has Jai addressing Avni’s father towards the end, requesting him to stop putting pressure on an intelligent and ambitious woman such as his daughter. He goes on to say that she deserves to be left alone to pursue her dreams instead of being emotionally blackmailed into considering an arranged marriage; and, that he would be proud if he were to have a daughter like that someday. It does sound a tad maudlin, but the scene pans out in as natural a manner as can be expected, and tugs that teeny bit at the heartstrings.
For all its above-average parts, Mitron fails in several areas. While it isn’t your typical romantic comedy-drama film, with nice touches in the way in which the narrative is presented (the creative intermingling of past and present), the male lead is written better than his female counterpart. We are forced to empathise with Jai’s list of inadequacies, but aren’t as impressed with Avni’s seemingly infectious confidence. She is portrayed as this driven, modern Indian woman from a conservative middle-class background who is willing to go after her dreams, at any cost, but the depth accorded to her character is less than effective. That being said, these are often problems that arise due to the limitation of genre. As far as a romantic comedy goes, Mitron does okay - less comedy and more drama, notwithstanding. It could have been better, but thank heavens it wasn’t worse. Flaws there may be aplenty, but it’s definitely worth a proper watch for a handful of notable moments and some excellent music.