- Movie Name:Atrangi Re
- Critics Rating: 3.5 / 5
- Release Date: Dec 24, 2021
- Director: Anand L Rai
- Genre: Musical romantic drama
When we were first introduced to the cast of Atrangi Re, everyone had a certain set of questions. Aren't these actors too diverse to be put together? Will Sara Ali Khan be able to pull off the chemistry romancing men (Akshay Kumar, Dhanush) twice her age? Is this out and out an Akshay Kumar film? Will Dhanush get substantial screen space with two popular Bollywood faces? Well, with crisp and a convoluted plot, filmmaker Anand L Rai answers all these with a pinch of salt.
Atrangi Re for a change is a mainstream film that's not on your face. During its promotions, Anand L Rai promised that the film has more to it and he's precise in its execution. With an irregular concept, it's a mixed bag of emotions wrapped in subtle commentary about mental health and pricky humour. Film writer Himanshu Sharma who's known for films like Ranjhanaa and Tanu Weds Manu series weaved a story that may look simple on paper but when dissected through Rai's fine lens and sound performance of its lead stars it turns out to be a genuine attempt.
Atrangi Re follows the story of Rinku Sooryavanshi (Sara)- a gutsy, rebellious and confident girl from the interiors of Bihar who'd follow what her heart wants but would do what her parents wish for. She loves a man Sajjad (Akshay) but despite that, she's married off to a Tamilian doctor Vishu (Dhanush). This unwanted conjuncture leads them to discover all sorts of things they weren't aware of. Rinku and Vishu decide to go separate ways but the small-time that they spend together changes the way they perceive things.
What appeared as a conventional Bollywood love triangle in the beginning soon turned out to be a note about mental health. The good part, it's not forced on you nor does it preach. It appears as a bookmark note to start a conversation around mental health in a setting where things can be easily dismissed as an invisible 'evil force'. Many may argue that the subject is trivialised but with a practical approach let's not forget that we're still fighting to accept that mental disorders are a medical condition that needs doctors. Even the slightest attempt to make it a normal coffee table conversation is a step forward.
Talking about the actors, while Sara and Dhanush are given more space to show their range and experiment with their characters, Akshay has a limited but important role to play in Rinku-Vishu's story. After films like Love Aaj Kal and Coolie No. 1, Anand L Rai has given Sara a chance to show what she's capable of. Atrangi Re is a testament to her growth as an actor. She has got the game right this time. Sara's feisty when Rinku needs to be assertive and she beautifully captures her sensitive side when she needs to. Dhanush and Akshay, on the other hand, are so familiar with their setting that they charm the audience every time the camera pans to them.
However, Sara is the real star of the film. The story is about her, it is through her emotions that we understand the setting and it is her reasoning that gives meaning to the plot. Probably this is the reason that her name features ahead of Akshay Kumar and Dhanush in the credits.
Atrangi Re's pace is one of its strongest suits. At times the plot appears a bit dodgy and repetitive but it's so seamless that you move with the flow. What makes the plot more engaging is AR Rahman's music. He is a genius and Atrangi Re's soundtrack once again re-affirms his status as one of India's best. Irshad Kamil's lyrics only adds more meat to his craft.
With tickling emotional dilemma and talks about mental health, Atrangi Re is not about moving mountains or taking the bull by the horns but moments that one can enjoy in the sun!