Film: Meerabai Not Out
Banner: Pritish Nandy Communications Ltd
Producer: Pritish Nandy, Rangita Pritish Nandy
Director: Chandrakant Kulkarni
Cast: Mandira Bedi, Anil Kumble, Aijaz Khan, Anupam Kher, Mahesh Manjrekar, Prateeksha Lonkar, Vandana Gupta
Sitting to watch this film, all that runs over and over in your mind are the words ‘clean bowled’. The film is tedious and there’s no better way to put it. Overflowing with unconvincing characters and an actor who smiles with disgust, Meerabai Not Out is a fare that can certainly be given a miss.
One sees Manidra Bedi play Meera Achlekar, a maths teacher during school hours and a permanent cricket fanatic. She lives, breathes and talks cricket. Concerned about her marriageable age, her parents and brother (Mahesh Manjrekar) are looking high and low for the perfect man. But Meera does not seem to overcome her love for cricket and sees herself settling down with no one but ace cricketer Anil Kumble.
But fate has her meet Dr. Arjun (Aijaz Khan) and slowly the two fall in love and he accepts her over-the-top fascination for the game. The film goes on to reveal the families’ involvement with the extended role of Arjun’s father Anupam Kher as Dr. Awasthi. Playing the game of Marry Me Now – Marry Me Not, and with Kumble hiccupping, Meera Bai Not Out is stretched beyond belief.
Kudos to the person who cut the trailers for this film, for it looks rather interesting. So much so that you just might be convinced to watch the film. But then, when you sit by watching the film, it’s long drawn and monotonous. This film is not the first of its kinds, there have been films involving both cricket and Bollywood in the past.
There was Hattrick, Stumped, Say Salaam India–so any kind of novelty in this film too is thrown out of the window. This film is predictable from the moment Khan’s character is introduced you. You know the manner in which the story is going to end. The dialogues don’t help either. They are plain and further make the characters seem drab. The cinematic experience of being somewhere, knowing someone, seeing something is missing and that is the main concern with MNO.
There is not a moment where you want to smile in the film, let alone laugh. Even moments like when Meera is out in front of the camera with her face painted, all you want to do is look the other way. The film tries hard to get you to smile and that evidently comes across as a forced effort. How else do you explain Manjrekar’s character? Even the additional characters like Meera’s gang of young cricket fans don’t amuse.
With an actor like Bedi, who is known for her oomph, especially on her show Extra Innings, this film steals all of that to give her the plain Jane look that is hard to digest. However it does not stop there, the film introduces her oomph factor in a few scenes where she is seen swirling about in a sari, forced and deliberate it screams.
Even performances are hammed. Khan smiles forcefully and essays his role with doubt. Bedi, on the other hand, shuttles between nailing her role and hamming. Veteran actors like Kher and Manjrekar are reduced to doing inconsequential roles without any depth. The star value that the film finds in Kumble too is wasted. All he is reduced to doing in the film is hiccupping and merely greeting a star struck Bedi.
There is nothing in this film worth spending money for. Neither is it musically brilliant, nor is it performance driven. An interesting concept is treated with frivolity and paying good money for that is not worth it.