Main Aur Mr. Riight (aka DEAR GOD WHY)

MAMR

Caution: This is not a review. This is me ranting about this travesty of a film. Also, spoilers ahead. Like MAJOR spoilers. Like this-girl-just-narrated-the-whole-film level spoilers. Like I-have-watched-this-movie or I-have-no-intention-of-ever-watching-this-movie level spoilers. 

Clear?

Ok.

Since this is Barun Sobti’s first film, and since this blog and my stories exist because he does (no, really, I would never have watched IPK with the guy who was originally going to play ASR), it’s only fair that I dedicate a post to reviewing Main Aur Mr. Riight. (For the record, adding an extra ‘i’ to the title does nothing to improve the film.)

On Monday evening, my mother and I set out for the same mall where an imaginary fangirl had met Arnavji a couple of weeks back. Fitting, no?

Mom: This movie had better not cost me too much money. The movie doesn’t look or sound promising.
Me: Stop being cheap! This is Sobti’s debut. Arnavji’s debut. We are not going to grudge him the ticket money. Even if it’s terrible.
Mom: The things I do for you…

***

Mom: Are we…the only ones in this theatre?
Me: Er…just at the moment. I’m sure other people will show up soon.
Mom: I have never watched a film where I am the ONLY person in the theatre.
Me: God, Mom, calm down. And so what if we are? Think of it as watching it in your personal theatre.

***

Mom: Oh, look, more Sobti-fangirls like you. Do you know them?
Me: Ma, I don’t know EVERY Sobti-fangirl. Happy now? We aren’t alone.
Mom: I’d be happier if they played anything other than this god-awful song from PK on loop. Seriously. Make it stop.
Me: Oh look, movie’s beginning.

***

So Main Aur Mr. Riight was not off to a very auspicious start.

After watching the whole movie carefully, if I were to summarize it in a sentence, I’d choose one word: bizarre.

Main Aur Mr. Riight is easily one of the weirdest movies I’ve seen, and I assure you I’ve seen plenty of weird movies.

Aliya Raj (Shenaz Treasurywala, billed as Shenaz Treasury, for some odd reason) is a successful, independent, wealthy, fashionable, attractive casting director in Bombay. She does yoga early in the morning, eats organic, and “loves her Jimmy Choos and Louis Vuittons because she works bloody hard to earn them.” She is obsessed with perfection and cannot handle a single drooping bloom in a vase of roses in her swanky sea-facing pad. So naturally, this obsession with perfection extends to her personal life as well. She is in her late-twenties/early-thirties (presumably) and is still single. Not because no one wants her (as we’re assured multiple times), but because she doesn’t seem to like anyone she goes on a date with. She rejects one guy she got along fabulously with because he had a few grains of food stuck between his teeth at the end of the meal. No jokes. She insists that no matter how independent and grown-up girls become, they will always dream of an MnB perfect-romantic hero for herself. (God, I really hope not, because MnB heroes are the WORST.) She has an image in her head that no human guy can live up to, as her friends point out multiple times.

Ah, Aliya’s friends. Aliya’s parents died a few years ago and her friends mean everything to her. We are introduced to Shawn (Kavi Shastri)– a wannabe painter, Bani– Aliya’s best friend and Shawn’s fiancé, this guy who is a Gujarati businessman and is permanently on the phone (whose name I can’t remember), Niyati– Gujju guy’s wife, Abhay– I can’t tell what he does, and Diya– Abhay’s “plastic girlfriend whom Aliya cannot stand.”

Aliya informs us with an absolutely straight face, that she and her friends are not your run-of-the-mill city people. “They don’t watch TV, they read books instead. They don’t go to nightclubs, they do brunch.” I don’t know what I’m supposed to make of these qualifications– except that I can tell you I never saw anyone pick up a book for the entire duration of this film.

These thirty-something, settled, ‘book-reading-brunch-eating’, urbane people have one mission in life: get Aliya to settle down. I think they all read MnB’s only, because the level of preoccupation these adults have with Aliya’s personal life is unbelievable. They constantly (I mean constantly) nag and nitpick and try to set her up with people. And they say things like “In 10 years, we will be picking our kids up from school together, and you’ll be the still-single, weird Aliya Aunty.” This is an actual dialogue that I couldn’t have made up if I’d tried.

The whole setup feels like a satire on the lives of the young-and-obscenely-rich that we see in shows and movies all the time. Only, it’s not. The film is being earnest about this.

Just to get her friends off her back, Aliya lies to them and says she’s found her Mr. Right. She randomly pulls a photograph out of her handbag and shows off ‘Hridaan’, her perfect guy. He’s a businessman from London and his family is involved with pharmaceuticals. He plays the guitar and is well-read, well-spoken, good-looking and is basically Mary Poppins: Practically Perfect in Every Way.

I hooted here because Hridaan, the guy in the photograph, the guy who had dropped off his portfolio at Aliya’s office the previous evening without actually showing Aliya his face, is…*drumroll*… Arnavji!

Er…I mean, he is Sukhi– Sukhwinder Singh from The Dalhi who is a wannabe actor, which is why he had dropped his portfolio off.

So anyway, Aliya contacts Sukhi and hires him to play her Perfect Boyfriend for a week or two. She pays him and promises him a role in an upcoming big-shot film, and Sukhi agrees. Over the course of one song, Sukhi loses his Salman-Khan-from-Tere-Naam hair, his Haryanvi accent, his inability to stand still for two minutes, his tactlessness and transforms into…er…Arnav. *sigh* Fine, Hridaan.

Aliya takes him along to various social do’s and introduces him to her friends. Sukhi plays Hridaan perfectly and his innate innocence and goodness slowly exposes how Aliya’s seemingly perfect friends have really dysfunctional lives and are shallow, selfish and immature. Or that, I believe, is what the script said, and what they’d hoped to achieve. Because I could have told you this without Sukhi’s intervention in the first ten minutes.

So anyway, shit happens. We see that Shawn and Bani have issues cos Bani is pregnant (which is why they’re getting married) and Shawn doesn’t feel ready for the baby or for marriage. Gujju businessman and Niyati have problems because he never ever has time for his sweet-gharelu wife and now, Niyati just doesn’t care. She’s started looking for solace outside her farce of a marriage. Abhay and Diya are the weirdest because they both realize that they’re actually in love with Aliya and Hridaan respectively.

…I can’t even.

In between this madness, Aliya finds herself bonding with Sukhi and his peasant-like pursuits like watching movies (gasp!), eating cheap food at shady restaurants (haw!) and getting cheap-thrills from eavesdropping on people’s conversations. I can’t be snarky about that one because while I do that all the time, it is not a polite thing to do.

Then, it’s time for Hridaan to leave. Sukhi has inexplicably fallen for Aliya in the meantime, but knows that Aliya doesn’t feel that way about him. He makes a few half-hearted attempts to stay but Aliya laughs them off.

Things come to a head at Hridaan’s farewell dinner. Sukhi sings a soulful song at the restaurant and everyone is kinda sad and all these couples (encouraged by Hridaan’s soul-searching questions) fight. And then this waiter, who is also a wannabe actor, recognizes Sukhi. The truth comes out and every one gets really mad at Aliya and leaves in a huff, because apparently, Hridaan’s lie is the source of all their problems and not their inherently dysfunctional relationships.

Sukhi leaves and Aliya gets together with Abhay. Her friends stay mad at her for a while and through a sad song and a doing-the-same-things-in-the-same-way-just-in-different-clothes montage, Aliya realizes that something’s missing. She misses Sukhi and tries to bring him back but he is mad at her cos she hadn’t even kept her word about that big movie and now Ranbir Kapoor has the role. He calls out her bullshit and tells her a few hometruths about how her friends and she lie to themselves and each other all the time.

She breaks it off with Abhay who really doesn’t seem to care either way and is now lonelier than ever. Aliya, that is.

On a random platonic date with her young, socially awkward PA, she is hopeless about ever finding her Mr. Right. He convinces her that the perfect guy is not the one who has everything she thinks is attractive, but the one who makes her laugh and cry and whom her heart wants despite all his imperfections.

At this point, you just want to do a slow-clap for Aliya because Sukhi had said the same thing a few hundred times before this but she’d never heeded his word.

She gets some liquid courage, puts on an unfashionable dress that Sukhi had once bought her, and climbs into his window in a sequence strangely reminiscent of Kareena Kapoor climbing into Aamir Khan’s room in 3 Idiots. She tries to tell Sukhi how she feels, but Sukhi tells her to stop being filmy and go home– which she does.

Next thing we know, we’re at Bani’s baby shower. Everyone’s had a change of heart. Shawn wants to marry Bani and is happy about the baby but Bani has now moved on and is okay with being a single mom. Gujju businessman wants his trophy wife back too, but Niyati wants a divorce and is going to marry her childhood sweetheart whom she had reconnected with when her husband was being negligent. Abhay and Diya tentatively become friends again. And of course, everyone forgives Aliya while conceding that their rabid matchmaking may have partially been responsible for her lie.

Then finally, at an audition for the role of the villain in the same film that Aliya had promised Sukhi, we find Aliya restlessly waiting for Sukhi. She’d told him about this audition but it looks like he’s not going to turn up after all. He appears at the very last minute, delivers a heartfelt monologue to the camera, replacing the heroine’s name with ‘Aliya’ and they have a tearful reunion and an awkward almost-kiss.

The movie ends with Aliya talking about how everyone’s much happier and has healthier relationships with themselves and each other and they’re all off ‘following their passions’– whatever they may be.

While the story is straightforward enough, this movie has some BIZARRE issues.

The strangest thing about this movie is, hands down, Aliya’s friends. They are not only dysfunctional, they also have the most public arguments. Even while discussing/disclosing super-personal things like why Bani didn’t get an abortion, and how Niyati is cheating and wants out of her marriage– they do it in front of everyone. And I mean everyone. In public restaurants and stuff!

Like, Bani literally tells Shawn that she could have gotten an abortion but had lied to him and told him it was a health risk for her because she wanted this baby and this marriage, in front of everyone else in a restaurant.

And Shawn too cribs about how he doesn’t want this baby and how he’s stuck and how he hates what is happening, in front of everyone else all the time.

Diya tells Hridaan that she loves him, while she’s drunk, in front of all the others!

I totally get being close to your friends, but this is just creepy.

If that wasn’t strange enough, no one–not even Aliya, questions why so-called Mr. Right is only in town for two weeks. If he’s THAT perfect, why does Aliya never talk about how she’s going to manage a long-distance relationship? I’m not even going to get into the other obvious loopholes and glitches in the Hridaan-story.

Another strange thing is the placement of the songs. They literally appear from nowhere. Yaar Bina, particularly, is so jarring because Sukhi and Aliya are in a car and listening to the radio when the song comes on. It’s Sukhi’s favourite. They stop the car, get out, go and sit down on the stairs of a random building, and then imagine the song playing out in front of them on the street.

I don’t think know WHAT drug makes you trip like that.

Then there was this narrative technique where random montages of different auditions interrupt the story. While some films have very successfully used this technique, some having even broken the fourth-wall and getting actors to talk directly to the audience to get some kind of point across– over here, this makes NO sense. All it does is interrupt the already very choppy flow and incoherent plot.

I told you it was bizarre.

Now here’s the real tragedy.

This film isn’t all bad. It has some honest moments and is even fun (this time, intentionally) in sections. It had potential.

I guess I can see why Sobti chose this film as his debut. I can imagine how this may have appeared as a fun, engaging, even unconventional rom-com on paper.

The two things that REALLY let this movie down are 1) the direction and editing and 2) the ensemble cast.

The film has no logical flow and feels awfully choppy. It jumps from scene to scene with nothing to connect two scenes and most of the time you can’t figure out why characters are doing what they’re doing.

I believe the director, Adeeb Rais, is only 21 years old and this may be part of the problem. This is going to make me sound like a granny, but the handling is terribly immature. The inexperience and lack of vision comes through rather strongly. The characters are tropes and stereotypes, the character arcs are predictable and text-book like, both problems and solutions are simplistic and he has someone or the other (usually Aliya) narrate most things in case we miss it. There is no nuance, no complexity, very little original execution, no depth and nothing is left open to interpretation. Honestly, jokes apart, he may make a watchable film some day, but he needs some serious work before that happens.

Secondly, the cast. OMG. All of them have a fair bit to do and have individual story arcs and distinct characters. There is no polite way to say this. Barring Sobti, they were all terrible. Acting, dialogue delivery, any sort of emoting– it was just awful. I had not an iota of sympathy for any of these book-reading-brunch-eating people and felt like roundly slapping all of them. If you think Perfect Aliya sounds bad, her friends are positively insufferable. Bani blankly puts up with Shawn insulting her publicly for most of the film before doing a volte-face in the end and becoming a single-mom– with no explanation to either situation. Shawn is supposed to be confused, but just comes across as an asshole. Gujju businessman– a bigger one with even less expression. Niyati, the poor little rich girl, reminds me of Meghna from Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na. She is perhaps the least annoying of the lot– which isn’t saying much. Abhay and Diya seemed to be competing for the Actor With Poorest Dialogue Delivery Award.

While Shenaz is definitely better than her friends, she too leaves a LOT to be desired considering Aliya is the central character of this movie. I have no sympathy at all for her. It’s not that Aliya is annoying (which she is), but that after a point, you’re completely indifferent. Aliya just doesn’t hold you as the protagonist. In fact, you don’t even get why Sukhi falls for Aliya!

Now, I’m going to come to my favourite part about this film: Sukhi.

I admit, when I’d seen the trailers, I hadn’t been very optimistic about this one. That Tere Naam look, the forced mannerisms, the god-awful clothes, even the supposed transformation– none of it had appealed to me.
But surprisingly, Sobti does a really good job as Sukhi.
In the film, Sukhi isn’t annoying at all. In fact, he’s endearing and genuinely funny. Sobti has a distinct flair for comedy and he plays that mix of brash, funny, honest, vulnerable and sweet REALLY well. I had almost forgotten why I used to like watching him on screen. He is just incredibly convincing as Sukhi.

Of course, I have a soft spot for Arnavji, so I wasn’t happy with my own evaluation.

Then this conversation took place:

Me: So…what do you think? About Sobti, I mean, since we can agree that the film was just strange. Am I being a fangirl or was he really good?
Mum: No, you’re not being a fangirl. Sobti was the one good thing about this otherwise-random movie.
Me: We’ve seen worse.
Mum: We have. But this could have been so much better.

So there you go, folks. MAMR was largely a sucky movie with a few genuine moments and Sobti was a pleasure to watch. If you miss Sobti terribly, by all means watch it. But do take along someone you can laugh at all the absurdity with.

Also, don’t worry, this isn’t turning into a Sobti-fan-blog (it always was that). I’ll be back with fiction soon.

Until then.

(This awful movie is on Netflix as of June 2017.)

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22 thoughts on “Main Aur Mr. Riight (aka DEAR GOD WHY)

  1. Oh my God!! U were bang bang on!!! with the review, S!!
    I was discussing the film with my frnz n remember telling them hiw inexplicably shallow the film was n the only saving grace was Barun!
    I found him so so much adorable as sukhi..He had that genuine, innocent aura around him totally ❤
    In a couple of scenes, i just wanted to go n hug him tighttttt for his awesome performance!!! He was very natural n that was the best thing..
    Everything else looked just like a wannabe!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with you whole-heartedly. Barun Sobti was the only right thing in the movie with his funny moments and good acting.
    I really wish the movie was better for Sobti’s sake. I mean it was his debut, feels bad to see his hard work being wasted. The story was immature especially the stories of friends.
    The only positive side is that I got to see him on the big screen, actually on any screen, after such a long time. It feels good.
    I remember going to the movie and me and my sister was the only one who was cribbing how I’m forcing her to watch a stupid movie. But thankfully few others joined in after sometime too. I remember how I could hear people laughing only when sukhi was on-screen. That had a soothing effect on my pagal pankhi dil…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ah well. When was a movie with Shenaz Treasury(wala) ever going to do well? I mean the woman was on MTV when I was a child (note I don’t even say teen here!) That is saying something!

    But as long as someone (can you hear me pleading to the universe?) sees the potential that Sobti has (me no phankhi, I promise), I will be at peace. After all his success at the movies will possibly be the only closure I can get on the butchering that became of The-Show-That-Must-Not-Be-Named!

    Is it totally weird that Arnavji is called Sukhi which means happy which in noun form means happiness which is Khushi? Dammit – I thought I had successfully weaned myself off. Clearly no. Maybe I do need to start writing again 😛

    Liked by 10 people

    • I KNOW. I was telling my mum how Shenaz debuted with Ishq Vishk when I was in 5th grade (not an exaggeration) and had been on MTV for god knows how many years before that.
      It is not weird at all. Sukhi is TOTALLY a more crass, Dilli-wala version of Khushi.
      OMG *faint-thud-dead* if you do!

      Liked by 4 people

      • Ok I live in the UK, and I seriously doubt that the film will come over here [:(]; having seen the trailer and I admit the footage and hype last year , I didn’t think it would be great, so no excuse to my other half to say it sounds like a great view… the fact that we havent been to see a movie in over 22 years says he wasn’t going to see in the first place.
        Its good to know that his performance was good, and given that this film has made I to the box office in the first place is down to him and faithful fans. I have no clue about any of the other actors so that speaks fof itself. I hope when 22 yrds and Satra ki shaadi comes out, he will be making a better film with the real Bollywood, let face it its his acting that kept us glued to the show, there have been many a good lookers on tv but the original IPKNND remains one of the best serials for his and Sanayas acting, Shanaz take a tip from her, stick to what you can do and if its reading a script in front of a camera rather than acting do it. GOOD LUCK BARUN FOR THE FUTURE.
        Meera I am sorry to say once addicted you cannot get away and there are MANY of your fans out here wish you would start another FF.[:D]

        Liked by 1 person

  4. OMG…….!!! Bang On review……!!! This was exactly what i felt after watching the movie……!!!
    I really wish the movie had a better director and a few better actors (except Sobti Of course….!! He is Perfect…!!)….
    The story , the entire concept was kind of different from typical Bollywood movies….. had it been executed well , the movie could have been far far better….
    Frankly after watching the trailer , i was not much optimistic about the movie ,so by that standards i liked the movie(i had expected even worse)….. The only reason that makes me want to watch the movie again is Sobti…. He is too good…. Be it the comedy , the emotional scenes, everything for that matter…. Sobti has done full justice to his role…. i even liked his dancing in Yaar bina (though the song was useless) , he was adorable in it…..

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You girls remember her in her TV avatar/movie debut.
    I am old enough to have seen her in school uniform!! Sob… And I’ve even taken my kids for a pretty lame “variety” show that her mum and sis put up once. Although now I think my son refused to come for a “girly” show. Smart boy!

    So…I resisted watching the trailer online and was somewhat pleasantly surprised to see it flash onscreen during my “Happy Ending” show. BUT I think that was enough to put me off the movie. I do wish BS had showed some of Arnavji’s good business acumen and chosen his debut more wisely. All he needs is some good advice on script selection! 🙂
    And as Meera said, I’m far from a phanki myself, but the guy does have potential. Strong potential.

    Semanti, thanks for this “spoiler”. I loved your (and your mum’s) take on the whole thing.
    Having said that, I just might gird my loins and venture to ask one of the kids to download the movie for me.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Hey I read the review in the TOI and it said that Barun Sobti was the only good aspect of this movie. Ur review seems spot on. Didn’t manage to watch it though. My hubby wud throw a fit and some if I told him I wanted to watch this. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Omg! Is she that *young*!! I couldn’t remember where I had seen her ! Now I know thank you ladies… I am no phanki either but why did he chose such a movie to debut with ? Bechara ! But on second thoughts seems like he was the only saving grace …
    Oh and about butchering characters and story lines shouldn’t most of the shows be nominated??? I can’t seem to remember a single show which didnt spoil the characters n the story line….

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Bang on review.. guys we all are on same page going by each word of your review.. bizarre.. i went to watch the movie with my 12 years-old son who is not a fan of Barun as his mother is.. well there were some dozens couples sitting here and there with three singles one girl and 2 boys in the theater.. I went for first day first show.. after the movie my son was like what was that. He didn’t stop there slowly he added only your Barun is life of this sinking ship.. wow.. what do i want more such a reaction from someone who hates Barun Sobti.. I kissed my son and told him thank you on behalf of Barun.. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. After reafing your review S, I think I should be thankful this film will never get a release here and I’ll never get to watch it in the cinema hall. I was thinking of buying a pirated dvd (if it ever gets pirated);)
    But now I don’t think I’ll put myself through the torture. Will be waiting to read some fiction from you and will just make do with my memories of the hero in a show we all fan girled over!

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Felt terrible for Barun, he deserved better. I don’t think the director and others even realized Barun’s potential. Very easily he acts his part. If only everybody else was just as talented, it would have been successful. Hopefully the right people saw MAMR and give him the roles that he is entitled to.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Main aayi 😀

    No, I’m not late because I actually went to watch the movie before reading this review (the debacle of Khoobsurat was enough for me to decide that Fawad, Barun or any other Tom, Dick and Harry, I’m not going to waste my time on their bad films…after all, a wise man has said that life is short).

    Anyways, about the review…you did give a detailed version of what I read in the newspapers and online reviews (and I read a lot of them, just so as to glean something positive on Sobti). Turns out, the only good thing critics had to say was about him.

    Let’s hope Satra ko shaadi hai turns out to be better *fingers and toes crossed*

    P.S. I giggled upon reading about Mr. Rais, or should I say Master Rais; you see the critics left him out. 😀

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Nicely reviewed… I am not a very big Sobti fan, though he did a superb work in IPKKND.. And can guess from your review he did a splendid job in MAMR also.. If it does come on TV will give it a watch

    Liked by 1 person

  13. ok…. NO ONE could have summed it up better. WHY? I ask you WHY? I watched the movie ( on YouTube because it didn’t play in my city ) and I wanted to mourn… This was such a waste. I really wanted to bop everyone on the head… especially the female lead. What was up with them?

    But I liked Mr Sobti’s acting… no surprise there.

    Anyways loved your review of the movie.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I just watched this movie recently. And, I couldn’t agree more with what you have written here. I’m a fan of Sobti and was sad that I didn’t catch the movie in theater.
    Whatever points you specified about the movie they are true. The direction was poor and the supporting cast could have been better and the amount of time the movie spent on their stories could have been avoided. I mean freaking 20 minutes spent on that dinner table. With so many problems!!! That were not meant for the world to listen to!!!
    I agree with you. The songs could have been better placed in the movie. Some scenes looked forced too. And, somethings left unexplained as well.
    Yes, this movie had good moments but only in which Barun was present. It was highly unfair to an actor of his potential but what can we do about it.

    The three things that really were the saving grace of this movie were-
    1. Barun as the wannabe actor/loud Punjabi guy
    2. The music. There were really some good songs in this movie
    3. And, Barun again!!!!!

    Fingers crossed for Satro ki Shaadi. I hope Barun gets his dues!!! We know our Arnavji is the best!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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