An epic love story bearing Shakespearean influences in an Indian setting, Mirzya is a glossy take on a tale as old as time. Building a mythic framework around a standard love triangle, director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra begins the film in impressive fashion.
Launching into a medieval desert battleground, he shoots scenes that resemble a cross between an Indian Lord of the Rings and a luxury perfume ad. Utilising breathtaking slo-mo and an intelligent use of effects, it leaves you wondering why Western blockbusters don’t look this good. We’ve certainly had enough practice.
As we join the story proper, school friends Monish and Soochi are separated by a reckless mistake and when we jump forward to their adult lives, both are in very different places. Soochi is engaged to a prince (who hilariously namedrops his “guest palace”) and Monish is a rugged and lowly stablehand. At this point it could be a premise from any romance, Jilly Cooper novel or Mills & Boon.
What makes Mirzya special is its Bollywood origins. Montage and song are used to tell the story and build emotion in a way so many rivals only hint at. The point is laboured a bit too much sometimes, but mostly these touches are a delight. The music by Parik and Tubby is also superb beyond the traditional songs, demonstrating an eclectic taste that at times resembles the likes of Howard Shore, Danny Elfman and John Williams.
Mirzya looks incredible too, even beyond the more showy battle scenes interspersed throughout. Mehra shows a masterful control of mise-en-scene, plotting elegant camera movements throughout the incredible sets.
Where Mirzya falls down is in its story. Unoriginality isn’t the problem, but a lack of believability. A couple of stupid plot twists ruin what is otherwise an entertaining and engrossing romantic epic.
CAST: Om Puri, Art Malik, Harshvardhan Kapoor, Saiyami Kher
DIRECTOR: Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra
SYNOPSIS: Inspired by the legend of Mirza Sahiban, this contemporary romantic epic follows two childhood friends separated by fate and reunited under trying circumstances.