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Review: Mr & Mrs Mahi

Rajkummar Rao and Janhvi Kapoor partly rescue a film that falls between two stools

Reading Time: 5 minutes

 

This Mr & Mrs Mahi review falls short in finding many things worth praising in what is an average film.

A cricket match is on at a stadium in Jaipur and two batters are at the centre of everyone’s attention. With a limited number of balls remaining, a nail-biting finish is expected as the two go all out to score the last runs needed to win.

AT A GLANCE

Film: Mr & Mrs Mahi

Duration: 139 minutes

Director: Sharan Sharma

Cast: Rajkummar Rao, Jahnvi Kapoor, Kumud Mishra and Zarina Wahaab

Cinematography: Anay Goswami Music: Aadesh Shrivastava, Vishal Mishra, Tanishk Bagchi, Jaani, Achint-Yuva, Hunny-Bunny, Dhruv Dhalla and John Stewart Edur

Rating: ** 1/2 

 

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A post shared by Janhvi Kapoor (@janhvikapoor)

Batter Mahendra warns the other striker to not try to be a hero, and instead, orders him to shield him, and allow him to hit the winning shot. But his partner pays no heed to the advice of his co-batsman, hits a four, and even knocks one of the last balls to slap yet another four.

An enraged Mahendra then stops midway while running between the wickets and intentionally gets his partner run out. As luck would have it, he too fails to score the remaining four runs needed to win and is caught out by a fielder in the very next delivery.

That’s Mahendra a.k.a. Mahi (Rajkummar Rao), an ambitious but mediocre player who wants to be one up on others in life, despite not having the talent to race ahead.

Mr & Mrs Mahi review
An average film | Source: IMDb

His being legendary cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s fan seems incidental as he does not possess any of his hero’s qualities, both on and off the field. He is also unhappy about wasting his time at his father’s (Kumud Mishra) sports goods business shop.

After three failed attempts at making it to the state cricket team, he would rather try yet another go at his passion for the game. His coach (Rajesh Sharma), who is more practical, sees no potential in his team members, and suggests that Mahendra become a coach. Not too pleased about his instructor’s counsel, an adamant Mahendra walks off in a huff.

To make matters worse, his firm father has had enough of his dilly-dallying, and orders him to take care of the family business from the next moment itself. He also decides to marry his son off to Mahima Sharma (Jahnvi Kapoor), a doctor whose doting parents (Purnendu Bhattacharya and Yamini Das) are impressed when Mahendra’s father oversells his son’s qualifications, sings his false praises.

Mr and Mrs Mahi review
Second project together for Rajkummar and Janhvi | Source: Instagram

He even justifies doing do, saying, “I am a salesman, I know how to sell.” Perhaps, he knows only too well that Mahendra as a failed cricketer has fewer qualities, and has no other credentials to boast of.

The next day, Mahendra is guilt-ridden, gets restless, and tells Mahima privately that all that his father claimed he is, is untrue. That makes Mahima melt and she falls for his honesty. She loves his sincerity and truthfulness, and would have no one else in her life, but him. Interestingly, they two share the same nickname, Mahi, and together become the titular ‘Mr and Mrs Mahi’.

Soon, they discover their common love and passion for cricket. She is, in fact, a supremely gifted player, as Mahendra finds out after spotting cricketing talent in his wife. He encourages her to chase her dream of becoming a cricketer. “But I am a doctor by profession,” she argues. Nonetheless, he is unwavering in his commitment to promoting her innate talent.

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150+ days of training went into the production | Source: Instagram

The only snag is that their love for cricket and training in the game because of her natural talent would require her to give up her profession. She is uncertain at first, primarily because it was her father’s wish to see her become a medical practitioner. After much hesitation, she gives in to her husband’s demands. All hell breaks loose when Mahi informs both sets of parents about their resolve.

Mahendra is agog with excitement about training Mahima and a rather timid, and gradually tentative, Mahima, too, immerses herself in her new role as a training student under her husband following his instructions.

The Rajasthan state-level selections are only six months away and they must get cracking fast. The two leave no stone unturned to make Mahima learn and unlearn all the skills needed to emerge a winner.

After several gruelling months, as she makes it to the team, Mahi suffers from insecurity when it is Mahima who hogs television limelight and he gets completely sidelined. He gets grumpy, irritable and misbehaves with her. His grouse is that it was he who had worked hard on her and no one seems to acknowledge that.

The sudden change in his behaviour is a cause of not only a big surprise for her, but also makes her nervous. So confused is she that she even fails to perform well in one of the league matches, forcing members of the selection panel to admonish her about her deteriorating standards.

Marital discord is not uncommon, and pangs of jealousy afflicting two individuals in a matrimonial alliance who may be madly in love, isn’t unheard of either. The film that wants to be known as a sports movie looks desperate to incorporate all the elements of a family drama. The result is a fall between two stools.

Mahendra’s self-doubt and unsuccessful career are all the more botched up when he begins to show his baser instincts in their relationship. Rao, a fine actor, who tries to fulfil the demands of the script quite earnestly, pushes himself too hard and that at times makes him overemphasise situations.

One point to note in Mr & Mrs Mahi is also the silly demands of the script that restrict Rao’s spontaneous energy to act effortlessly in a relaxed manner. Still, he is watchable as an actor.

Janhvi Kapoor, whose performance is more heartfelt, is natural. Her unsure look, awkwardness and part doubtful and part undefined appearance is more ambiguous, and she acquits herself well in interpreting it. That she is no cricketer is obvious by the way she bats, at times trying to salvage her limitation by repeatedly striking a rehearsed pose to smash a ball.

And all this, without a single strand of hair going out of place, or her face showing any beads of sweat! To be fair to her, though, she does leave a mark.

Veteran actress Zarina Wahab is good in a small role. Wish she was in on some of the critical family scenes as well. Talented actor Kumud Mishra, meanwhile, doesn’t get much scope to sink his teeth into an ill-defined character.

The camera work and the music in Mr & Mrs Mahi are effectively and quite satisfactorily executed to suit a film of this genre. What comes as a surprise is why Dharma Productions would make such an unexceptional and average film!

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