Cast: Sidharth Malhotra, Tara Sutaria, Riteish Deshmukh, Rakul Preet Singh, Ravi Kishen
Director: Milap Milan Zaveri
Sample this: “Main maarunga to marr jayega, dubaara janam lene se darr jayega” (When I hit you, you’ll not only die, you’ll be scared to be reborn).
And this: “Main badla nahi lunga, main inteqaam lunga” (I will not take revenge, I will seek vengeance).
Do these dialogues sound like they belong in a 1980s revenge saga? Well, that’s exactly how ‘Marjaavaan’ plays out, reminding you of a time in Bollywood that you’d much rather forget.
Director, Milan Zaveri, who has co-written deplorable adult comedies, like ‘Masti’ and ‘Great Grand Masti’, and also directed films like ‘Mastizaade’ and ‘Satyameva Jayate’, decides to exploit a tried and tested Bollywood formula to make this highly missable action film.
Sidharth Malhotra plays Raghu, the right-hand man of a mafia don Anna (played by Nassar), who has a heart of gold, but having been born a “lawaaris” (orphan) has had no option but to live a life of violence. Donning a leather jacket, a bandana and colorful vests, our hero can single-handedly beat up scores of goons into a pulp, provide a shoulder when a destitute lady needs help with her son’s funeral, and happily donate blood when a teenage girl is shot.
Raghu’s arch rival is Anna’s son, a vertically challenged Vishnu (Riteish Deshmukh). His anger and jealousy stem not only from the fact that he is a dwarf, but also because Raghu is his father’s go-to person for all important, thuggish work. His fear is that someone with Raghu’s potential will be considered the rightful heir to his father’s legacy. Vishnu does everything in his power to disrupt our action hero’s life.
When Raghu falls in love with Zoya (played by Tara Sutaria), a Kashmiri girl with a speech impairment, there are, obviously, violent consequences. Like we all know, violence begets violence and soon there is na profusion of blood and gore on the screen; bones are cracked, blood drips from open wounds. This is all ostensibly building up to the one big moment when Raghu would put up an end to Vishnu’s Raavan raaj.
The predictable plot is not the only problem here as Milap Zaveri resorts to all possible cinematic cliches. The dialoguebaazi is jarring and there isn’t a single element that stands out to justify why anyone should invest in the story. Sidharth flails around, trying to rise above the shoddy filmmaking. Tara walks around like a mannequin and hardly makes an effort to be noteworthy or memorable.
Zaveri throws in a couple of item numbers, with a skimpily clad Nora Fatehi and Rakul Preet Singh grooving in an inane song-and-dance outing. Much like many movies from the ‘70s and ‘80s, we have more than a few skull-cap sporting goon friends, who represent the loyal Muslim buddy — a thoroughly trite sort of tokenism that I had, erroneously, hoped that we’d moved on from years ago.
The only person who makes this movie marginally watchable is the villain, played by Riteish Deshmukh - he is as evil as evil can be and in this three-foot avatar makes quite an impression. The rest is just white noise.
‘Marjaavaan’ has the feel of a dated revenge story, where neither the romance — nor the music — provides any relief.
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