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Trivia / Goofs
Times of India
A story of star-crossed lovers battle misogyny, hate and caste tensions amidst a politically-charged environment.
Contrasting sneakers with garish, loud Punjabi kurtas is Juuliet Shukla (Pia Bajpai) a feisty girl in Mirzapur, UP who bullies anything that moves — from the local bus conductor to her childhood friend Mirza (Darshan Kumar). She throws her weight around town as she is the darling sister of Dharamraj (Priyanshui Chatterjee), a powerful local goon who wants to marry her off to the son of another powerful politician, the very randy Rajan Pandey (Chandan Roy Sanyal). Mirza (Darshan Kumar), on the other hand, is a hitman; a total opposite to Juuliet’s brash personality —calm, composed and the best shot in town.
At its core, ‘Mirza Juuliet’ is a formulaic film that climbs on the shoulders of other successful films set in small towns such as Gangs of Wasseypur, Tanu Weds Manu. Right from its opening sequence, it borrows the chase scene from Gangs of Wasseypur along with the song ‘Mohabbat Ka Misuse’ and fails on both counts. The chase scene is badly edited and the song tacky enough to be irritating. It also tries to show the ill-treatment of women in small towns, but ends up being crass in the process, sinking under the weight of the misogyny it creates.
Pia Bajpai looks stunning, but her character is so aggressively loud, you fail to connect with her. Darshan Kumar, as a hitman gives a decent performance but his character development becomes unbelievable. He dodges every bullet putting Keanu Reeves from the Matrix to shame and when he does get shot, it only makes him angrier and faster to the chagrin of the baddies which include the entire town! In the supporting role, Chandan Roy Sanyal’s character used for comic relief, gets in the way of the film so many times, that you wish he was simply done away with. Priyanshui Chatterjee is a cliché of every goon played shown on the big screen.
In an effort to capture the magic of the tragic love story it is inspired from, ‘Mirza Juuliet’ crumbles under its own ambition and becomes a cinematic tragedy instead.
Films set in UP feel the compulsion to subscribe to debauchery, sexist jibes and casual racism. Which is why when the Hindu heroine of this film meets her childhood friend after ages, she jokes, "Bhaisa khaya?" just because he happens to be a Muslim. Abusive relationships are playfully referred as "miyan-biwi ka dangal" and the many wounds and injuries endured by the wife are stamps of "pati ka pyaar". But these are just minor cracks in this supposed love story laced with the grime of politics and crime.
Brandishing an almost clinical superiority complex, Juuliet Shukla (Pia Bajpai) pushes and pokes everyone in sight in her nondescript small town of Mirzapur. Being the sister of Dharamraj (Priyanshu Chatterjee), a local stronghold and political goon, Juuliet knows she's answerable to no one. Slated to be hitched to Rajan Pandey (Chandan Roy Sanyal), a political heir, her destiny seems sealed. But this is when Pandey physically abuses her. The act is deemed barely objectionable to many since the two are to be eventually married. But Juuliet is scorned and must seek another Romeo.
Luckily, her childhood friend Mirza (Darshan Kumar) happens to be at arm's length. The two escape to Nepal with limited means, hopeful of starting over in what seems like a Nepali version of Sairat. But if you've read the Mirza tale, you know how this doomed love story folds up. Only difference, this one feels like a million hours long. At various points, you want to shoot the two reluctant lovers to end it all. But like a certain gun in this film, responsible for a critical turn, you're only left shooting blanks.
A parallel track of communal politics attempts to keep things edgy but fails to be gripping.
Pia Bajpai's voice makes her dialogues sound like a cat being dragged across a hot tin roof without consent. And given that she hogs a large part of the screen time, this directly influences the film's fate. Darshan Kumar seems determined to deliver but given that there's only as much he can do, he barely manages to elevate the film. Priyanshu Chatterjee attempting an extra from Omkara is unobjectionable, even while his Bhojpuri accent is debatable. Chandan Roy Sanyal, as the scrawny shirtless romantic in suspenders and a bow tie, perennially requesting for a chumma over the phone, isn't as hilarious as the maker felt he would be.
Director Rajesh Ram Singh feeds on stereotypes. Need to show growing communal conflict? Let's have a face off between a Hindu rally and a Muslim juloos, both being championed by opposing political parties. The leader of one is shot, the other is blamed. It's like a pre-school screenwriting project.
Some love stories are written in heaven, but this one promises to make you endure the flames of hell.
The title of the film, 'Mirza Juliet' was suggested by Ajay Devgn
The film was shot in Mirzapur, Banaras and Dharamsala.