Mirzya would almost be a perfect movie for me, if it wasn’t for one fatal flaw it has which completely ruined the movie for me.
The flaw is very spoilery, so proceed under the line break at your peril. It is a feminism and male violence related problem, if that helps. And no, I did not find this bit told this way in any version of the legend I could find so you can’t blame it on that.
But here is what’s good about Mirzya:
– the aesthetics. If that one flaw wasn’t so fundamental, the aesthetics would easily make up for it. It’s decadent and dreamlike, but not as stuffed full of stuff as a Bhansali film. It’s like an issue of L’Officiel de la Mode turned into film but Indian.
– the songs (excellent songs, excellently staged)
– the leads are incredibly attractive, Harshvardhan Kapoor with his body urge and Saiyami Kher with her gorgeous gold-coloured eyes (although whoever did the make-up on this had no idea how to make up light-coloured eyes)
– it has lots of horsies
The movie starts when Harshvardhan and Saiyami are children; classmates and besties. Harshvardhan gets caught without having done his homework, but Saiyami covers for him and gives him her homework. So he’s let off. Then the teacher asks for Saiyami’s homework, which of course she does not have.
When the teacher finds out Saiyami does not have her homework, he punishes her. Harshvardhan sees this and it makes him so angry that later on he steals a gun, goes to the teacher’s house and kills him (!!!!).
So here’s what Harshvardhan’s character does here that I’ve got an issue with:
– he doesn’t do his homework and lets a woman fix it for him, so he does not have to suffer the consequences
– when she does this, he is fine with it. He does not own up to not having done it. He is fine with her suffering the potential consequences in the moment
– he lets the teacher believe he is doing justice when he is committing an injustice by punishing the wrong person; he does not correct the teacher’s apparent assumptions in the moment
– when this has entirely predictable consequences (Saiyami gets punished), he still does not take responsibility and correct the teacher
– he does not apologise to Saiyami for having caused this by owning up at any point
– he does not correct the teacher afterwards and still does not take responsibility for his own actions
– without Saiyami having asked him to do it, he takes revenge on the teacher, who is innocent here, and kills him, without ever taking responsibility for having caused it
– he kills someone because he was too lazy to do his homework and too terrible a person to take responsibility for his action
– at no point in the movie does anyone label this as wrong, nor does he seem to realise it’s wrong, he does not atone, he does not show regret, and he does not apologise to anyone, let alone to the teacher’s family. Instead, the movie suggests it’s tragic he was punished.
I cannot root for a character like that, nor ever consider them as a romantic prospect, no matter how attractive he looks with his shirt off.
For contrast, if this was a Govinda movie, towards the end it would be revealed that he hadn’t really killed the teacher, but one of the villains had, and blamed Govinda for it, or something like that. So I kept waiting for that to happen. But don’t expect that kind of actual moral thinking in this movie.
Anyway, so yeah, fuck this movie. If you can roll with heroes who just go around killing innocent people, I guess watch this.