Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's Mirzya, loosely inspired by the eternal love story of Punjab's Mirza-Sahiban, is about childhood lovers Monish (Harshvardhan Kapoor) and Suchitra (Saiyami Kher). It is lyrically told and embellished with the rich folklore of Rajasthan, replete with picturesque locales.
On the face of it, this sounds perfect. Sadly, it is not. The weak story line with a convoluted screenplay and a languid pace stalling the narrative is its undoing.
The first half of the film establishes the love story which begins from school, albeit with the help of a screenplay that goes back and forth in time simultaneously straddling two worlds, in both of which the lovers are jinxed. The second half, instead of picking up momentum, is painfully slow, with nothing new being offered to the audience by way of narrative. The fait accompli of the lovers and the film is by then already evident.
The screenplay, hinged on a cliched story, is not taut and meanders aimlessly, offering nothing novel even by way of treatment. In scenes when the lovers are escaping and ought to be tension-ridden, the dialogues in a light vein seem out of context and amateurish, diluting the intended intensity of the film. The characters too are not convincingly etched, thus failing to engage viewers.
Harshvardhan Kapoor as Monish aka Adil Mirza, is sincere, but lacks the persona and charisma of a star. Sadly, for a debut film, he does not have much to display by way of histrionics, except his horse riding and archery skills. He does not appear convincing in emotional scenes.
Saiyami Kher as Suchitra, his love interest, grows on you as the film progresses and from a gawky presence in the first few scenes, she gets a hold of herself and commands attention, especially in the second half when the childhood lovers meet. She appears confident and emotes naturally too.
Art Malik, a brilliant international actor, as Suchitra's father, lights up the screen with his strong personality, but seems a tad out of place in the setting.
Anuj Choudhary as Prince Karan, leaves an indelible impact and portrays a jealous lover with a bruised ego, effectively. Anjali Patil as Zeenat, Mirzya's silent and selfless lover, is equally powerful, albeit in a small role. She evokes your sympathy more than the actual lovers in the film.
The music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy is undoubtedly the raison d' etre of this film and the audience is willingly distracted by the innumerable songs -- Mirzya, Teen Gawah Ishq ke, Aave re hichki, as these provide the necessary relief here, rather than being an aberration.
Daler Mehndi renders the title song with the requisite gusto and passion, making it pierce through your heart. Perhaps it is the music, including the background score, which evokes the pathos in the audience rather than performances on screen.
Director of Photography, Pawel Dyllus, deserves kudos as the cinematography is yet another highlight of the film, as the frames are picture-perfect and leave you mesmerized. Whether it is the colourful dances of Rajasthan or pristine Ladakh, these are beautifully captured by his lens.
Overall, even at two hours and 10 minutes, Mirzya seems like a lifetime in the theatre as Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra does not succeed in involving you in the love story. Neither does your heart beat for them nor do you get teary eyed when they are separated. Aesthetically, it is a treat though.