There is a lot to admire in Rakyesh Om Prakash Mehra’s directed flick Mirzaya, but coherent narratives and compelling characters are not among its trends. Based on the Punjabi folk tale of Mirza Sahiba, the movie written by Gulzar cuts between two timelines i.e. now and unknown where and when. In both timelines, debutante Harshvardhan Kapoor and Saiyami Kher, play star crossed lovers. The track rooted in an unspecified, game of thrones style settings, sees a scruffy warrior win some sort of archery competition against armour clad horsemen and make off with a visibly impressed queen. Unfolding largely in slow motion this scenario gets a tragic end. Sticking faithfully to the original folklore, it prompts why does she betray him.
The other track which places the same story within the context of modern day Rajasthan, features twelve year old sweethearts named Monish and Suchitra who were separated when Monish flees the city after committing heinous crime . Years later their love gets tested again when Suchitra discovers that Monish has been working as a stable boy at the estate of her fiancé, a prince played by Anuj Chaudhary. The director who blurred the lines between past and present so skilfully in Rang De Basanti, has not been able to do the same in this film. The story does not sit convincingly in present day portions and key messages appears to be contrived. For a film inspired by legendary romance, it is disappointing that the lovers in the movie cannot quite set the screen on fire!
Both Harshvardhan and Saiyami have potential individually but they fail to display the passion required for the timeless love story that this film desperately wants to be! There is more heat between the dancers, in the sensuously choreographed song sequences, that pop-up in the movie at regular intervals. These highly stylised music videos which are set to meaningful lyrics by Gulzar and glorious folksy tunes by Shankar Ehsan Loy give this movie, a feel of completely musical. The other highlight of the film is ace cinematographer Pawel Dyllus exquisite lensing of both the Laddakh landscape against which the fantasy track unfolds, and the breathtaking expanses of Rajasthan desserts and palaces amidst which the other track unravels.
Talking about the cast, British actor Art Malik plays Suchitra’s police officer father, is a hoot as he is over-actimg in many scenes and has left the audience chuckling. The beautiful actress, Saiyami Kher has a striking presence on-screen and Harshvardhan Kapoor uses his piercing eyes to convey intensity. In the end Mirzaya is a missfire, despite its staggering ambitions and remarkable technical achievements.