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Atrangi Re review: Jung and foolish

Aanand L. Rai的凌乱,不连贯的电影大胆地去了地方它不知道如何逃离

(from left) Akshay Kumar, Dhanush and Sara Ali Khan in ‘Atrange Re’
(from left) Akshay Kumar, Dhanush and Sara Ali Khan in ‘Atrange Re’

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“I’m a psychiatrist. I know women.” Aanand L. Rai’s film pivots on these two patently false statements.Atrangi Reunderstands neither women nor mental illness, and its grasp of Jungian psychology is shaky at best—but we’ll get to that later.

The film begins with Rinku (Sara Ali Khan) running away from her home in a Bihar town. She reaches the train station around the time Tamil-speaking medical student Vishu (Dhanush) is alighting. She’s tracked down there by relatives and taken home, where her grandmother (Seema Biswas) beats her so she’ll give up the name of the person she was eloping with. Later, she hatches a scheme: drug Rinku, find a boy (“any caste will do”), get them married. Vishu is abducted and given laughing gas—a reasonable metaphor, it turns out, for a viewer of this film.

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在德里,好战Rinku tells Vishu about her lover Sajjad (Akshay Kumar), a magician. She’s tried to elope with him 21 times in seven years, always unsuccessfully. When Vishu tells her he’s engaged to be married, she offers the film’s one sensible suggestion—once we reach Delhi, you go your way, I go mine. So, of course, they end up living in the same room in his hostel, traveling to Chennai, breaking off his engagement and returning to Delhi closer than ever.

Vishu falls for Rinku, as tongue-tied men in Rai’s films tend to when confronted by chaotic women. She’s hung up on Sajjad, though, who duly arrives—on an elephant. He’s played by Akshay Kumar, who’s old enough to be Sara Ali Khan’s father; indeed, one of his early hits,Main Khiladi Tu Anari, was with Sara’s dad. It’s surreal to see them in a lover’s clinch, though Khan and Dhanush—who was electric inKarnanearlier this year—aren’t an inspiring pair either. Between Dhanush’s broken Hindi, Khan’s grating Bihari accent and Kumar’s bland baritone, this might be the least euphonious love triangle in modern Hindi film.

(Spoilers ahead)

Even as Vishu curses his luck, we start to notice there’s something strange about Sajjad. He’s not just a larger-than-life figure, he doesn’t feel real at all. Something doesn’t add up about Rinku’s stories either; it’s hard to believe her family wouldn’t know after 21 attempts that the man she loves is Muslim. The film’s big twist arrives around halfway through, when Vishu’s friend M.S. (Ashish Verma) sees Rinku and Sajjad eating together. Or rather, he sees her eating and talking to an empty chair. There’s either no magician there, or a very good one.

Having already become, with this revelation, the weirdest Hindi film of 2021,Atrangi Redoubles down. M.S.—the one who knows psychiatry and women—advises Vishu to not tell Rinku she’s been pining for a lover who doesn’t exist. If she finds out from someone else instead of discovering it herself, she’ll slit her wrists, he says. Instead, slip Rinku medicine and allow her to fall in love with you. “No one understands mental disorders anyway,” he says sagely, though surely there are people who understand them better than Rai and screenwriter Himanshu Sharma.

In between misrepresenting mental health issues,Atrangi Rerehashes intense Bollywood love story clichés: lovers cut their wrists, smash beer bottles on their head, threaten suicide, are burnt alive. Late in the film, there's an acknowledgment that religious intolerance might just exist in India, though the politics of the film is mostly muddled (“Tripathi ji, you’re a Brahmin,” Rinku addresses a lawyer sitting beneath a portrait of Ambedkar). Out of this clutter, A.R. Rahman conjures some beauty;Little Little, shot with great fluidity by Pankaj Kumar, is delightful.

我不会透露rinku制作的记忆根源的内容,只是说这是那种揭示薄膜的那种展示,就像这一样。它在一定程度上解释了kumar的存在,虽然不是vishu和m.s.为什么轻轻地采取这个解释。但也许这就是一切都可以从一位患者收集所有患者的医生 - “OCD,Alzheimer,Bipolar,精神分裂症” - 在一个帐篷里,让他们看着Rinku的看不见的男朋友表演技巧。“无论是否别人可以,”他告诉毗武器,“这些人可以看到Sajjad。”

最糟糕的。精神科医生。曾经。

Atrangi Re is streaming on Disney+ Hotstar.

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  • FIRST PUBLISHED
    24.12.2021|05:09 PM IST

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