An epic and dramatic tale of eternal, doomed love...
Age-old love stories of tragedy and star-crossed lovers have long been favourites of storytellers, whether through poetry, books or movies. Retold through folklore and passed down through the generations, Mirza Sahiban is a popular Punjabi romance that was destined to be doomed, making it an appealing subject for the Bollywood big screen.
Directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Mirzya doesn’t just retell the story of Mirza Sahiban. Two parallel love stories are seen throughout the film, with the focus mainly on the romance of Suchitra and Monish, two lovers whose woes and bond become reminiscent of the ill-fated tale of Mirza Sahiban, with both heroes and heroines played by debutants Harshvardhan Kapoor and Saiyami Kher. Intertwining the two love stories are flashbacks of scenes showing the original Mirza Sahiban from a bygone era, complete with Mirza on horseback and the iconic tree where they are both said to have lain together, spellbound by their love for one another.
The blending of two eras and two stories could have been confusing, but the beauty lies within the way in which Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra has fluidly crossed over both paths so eloquently. Storytelling is carried out creatively and theatrically, with scenes of passionate song and dance, performed by vibrantly clad village folk, through thought-provoking poetry, a soul-stirring background score, along with the powerful voice of Daler Mehndi, which collectively proved to be very effective as a bridge between scenes of the parallel universes and eras of eternal amour.
Being the son of Anil Kapoor and sister of Sonam Kapoor, Harshvardhan is in a pressurising position, where he has sky-high expectations to meet. Yet, he delivered a believable portrayal of both Monish and Mirza, melting hearts during Monish’s poignant and romantic moments, whilst impressing with Mirza’s bravado, showing off heroic skills of horseriding, playing polo and archery. Physically, he inevitably shares some likenesses with his father Anil, whilst his soft, doe eyes, resemble his sister Sonam’s. However, he definitely held his own and without a doubt will steal hearts as he goes forth in his career.
Saiyami is a picture of effortless and sublime beauty with her uniquely distinct features - it’s her striking green eyes and tresses of curls that are so refreshing to see in Indian cinema. Aside from her looks, Saiyami also impresses with her acting and exceeds expectations with the intense emotions and expressions portrayed as Suchitra and Sahiban. Her performance in the movie will undoubtedly pave her way towards a bright future in the industry.
It was a pleasant surprise to see Art Malik in a prominent Bollywood role, playing the role of Suchitra’s stately father fitfully, with his commanding deliverance and stature, fitting into the authoritative disposition of his character with ease.
Visually, the film is an epic feast for the eyes and absolutely must be seen on the big screen to do it justice. Scenes with Mirza Sahiban are set against the stunningly pristine and otherworldly backdrop of remote Ladakh. Mirzya will definitely leave its mark for its cinematic and creative brilliance, whilst the poignant and dramatic love stories of not just Mirza Sahiban, but also the contemporary, fairytale-esque yet doomed romance of Monish and Suchitra will resonate in your hearts for a long time after leaving the cinema. Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra has certainly created an epic, grand tale of infinite, intense, everlasting love, as well as passionate, archetypal beloveds for the modern day.
Mirzya is out in cinemas now