Rating: One star:
When so much our new mainstream cinema is aiming to make sense, and tell relatable stories, Milap Milan Zaveri’s Marjaavan is just the kind of film that ought to have been buried after the nineties, and never exhumed. Except for a small bunch of unimaginative screenwriters and directors, nobody, just nobody, must be feeling nostalgic about the rubbishy formula films that were churned out once upon a time, with scripts being scribbled on the sets.
Marajaavaan does not have a single original cell in it; Zaveri has picked up bits and pieces from dozens of films and tried to spice up the stale concoction with cringe worthy rhyming dialogue, and a three-foot villain with daddy issues and tendency to crack “height of..” jokes.
Raghu (Sidharth Malhotra), given a wardrobe of faux-leather jackets (in Mumbai!) and a matchstick in his mouth (which eventually comes in handy), is the right-hand man of a water mafia don Anna (Nasser), which makes his dwarf son Vishnu (Riteish Deshmukh) resentful. Years after he must have adopted the founding, Anna still talks of rescuing him from the gutter, and Vishnu snarls every time he sees Raghu.
As he goes about thrashing Anna’s rivals, he says lines like, “Main maroonga mar jaayega dobara janam lene se dar jaayega,” as if Kader Khan’s ghost was hovering around Zaveri’s ear. Raghu has the usual loyal buddies, who take great pains to establish the secularism (rhyming Ali with Bajrangbali and so on) of the sea front slum where they live. Then the mute, harmonica-playing Zoya (Tara Sutaria) wanders in with a friend who interprets her sign language, and wants to take some musically talented slum kids to perform at a festival in Kashmir.
Because the film is set in the present, the tawaif of yore is now a bar dancer called Arzoo (Rakul Preet Singh), who loves Raghu and quotes film dialogue at him in bed.
Everything gets worse, if that were possible, a key character dies, a good guy has his legs cut off, a foreign giant is hired to fight Raghu, when a sniper could have done the job more neatly, and there are just too many crumpled, weepie faces around. There’s also a “Bihar mein kahawat” spouting cop (Ravi KIshen), who, when faced with the prospect of a massacre, promises to arrive late like all policemen in the movies.
You can predict that if a film has a Raavan-burning Dussehra celebration in the beginning, it will have one in the climax. Everything about this film is laughably bad; the only one who is not a complete washout is Riteish Deshmukh, though even he could have done without a Marjaavaan on his filmography. Those involved with the making of this film used the word “massy,” in interviews, but when the meaning of the word changed, they either didn’t get the memo, or woke up just to watch the Housefull type of movies.