Atrangi Re

Before writing something about the film ‘Atrangi Re’, I decided to get clarity about the meaning of the Hindi word ‘atrangi’. After ‘googling’ for some time, I got many meanings and interpretations, but what seemed to be most appropriate in the context of the film was “colorful”. Indeed, ‘Atrangi Re’ is a colorful film; from the rustic colors of the small town Siwan in Bihar to the rich colors of ‘kalayanmadapam’ in Chennai juxtaposed with the flickering razzmatazz of a circus stage make the backdrop of the film quite colorful. Beyond this colorful backdrop, what lies in the film is something we need to make efforts to understand and absorb. It is an intriguing story of a young girl, who wants to live life on two tracks -one with a lover and another with a husband.

As the mystery of the ‘ two-dimensional behavior’ of the leading lady is revealed only at the end of the film, throughout the entire length of the film, one is neither able to accept what is happening on the screen, nor reject it entirely. I am not sure whether it was intended or it is because of poor writing or poor execution. But the fact remains that a kind of vagueness throughout the story does not allow one to get fully involved with the film.

In the initial scenes of the film, it is through few loaded dialogues of Rinku and others sitting around, the writer tries to give the audience a hint of some mystery associated with the character of the leading lady. ‘ Are o dabloo mila woh launda jiske saath bhagi thi?… Are kahan pahale kabhi mila jo aaj mil jayega? Pata nahi kaun bhoot hai sala ?’ If you miss these dialogues you are going to repent throughout the film and you may have a feeling of eating an uncooked dish throughout the film. Take the initial sequence of the hero being kidnapped and brought to the vivahmandap. As soon as they open the gunny bag, out comes our hero sputtering and cursing in Tamil, which is incomprehensible for the Bihari people sitting around. Whether this scene was designed to evoke a burst of laughter or a shock or pity, one is not able to make out.

Besides the unique twist in tail of the story, the storyline seems to be a cocktail of inspirations derived from a number of Dhanush and Sara Ali Khan’s popular films and uses these popular antics of both the actors to complement the screenplay. Despite having so many ups and downs in the storyline and in spite of somewhat credible performances by the leading pair, ‘Atrangi Re’ is not able to keep the audience engrossed and carry them on the emotional roller coaster, which keeps running between North India and South India.

Music, though, helps in keeping the viewers into the film in parts. Akshay Kumar is used to enhance the market value of the film, which he does to the best of his ability. Another performance , which catches the eye, is that of Ashish Verma, who plays the role of Vishnu’s friend Madhu, the medico, who claims to know psychiatry more than the hero of the film.

Gradually healed by a medico husband Vishu, with dialogues like ‘ Tum bibi ho, jab tum tali bajaogi main bhi tali bajaoonga,’ Rinku, who fled from her home in Siwan, Bihar and came to a Medical College in Delhi via Chennai finally comes to terms with life and all ends well for the couple. The hero is seen distributing sweets on the railway station saying ‘Meri wife wapas aa gayi’. Wife aise bhi wapas aati hai, kabhi soncha na tha ! Apne soncha tha?


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O P Srivastava

A banker-turned filmmaker based in Mumbai. India.

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