Mr and Mrs Mahi: Rajkumar Rao and the music are the only redeeming features of this underwhelming romantic/sports drama

Director Sharan Sharma disappoints after a promising debut in Gunjan Saxena. Janhvi Kapoor needs to get out of her stock expressions
  • Starcast: Rajkumar Rao, Janhvi Kapoor, Kumud Mishra, Zarina Wahab and others
    special appearance (Arjit Taneja)
  • Director and writer: Sharan Sharma
  • Additional writer: Nikhil Mehrotra
  • Production Company: Dharma Productions and Zee Studios
  • Music directors: Vishal Mishra, Tanishk Bagchi and others
  • Cinematography: Anay Goswami
  • Running time: 2 hours and 18 minutes

Sharan Sharma’s first movie Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl was much appreciated for its strong storytelling particularly the father and daughter relationship. The movie also packed a powerful punch in showing how Gunjan broke through the mostly male stronghold to make a place for herself. For Janhvi Kapoor the movie was a resurgence after the mixed reviews to Dhadak.

Sharan Sharma’s second venture Mr and Mrs Mahi had all the potential to be a solid feel-good movie, but this time the director has disappointed the emotions land rarely and the cricketing portions are a dampener. It also doesn’t help that Janhvi seems to have stepped straight out of Baawal sets in a different universe. Sure, the character sketch leaves a lot to be desired, but Janhvi’s monotonous expressions doesn’t really help. She really needs to up her game significantly particularly in the times of talented young actresses like Nitanshi Goel and Pratibha Ranta from Laapaata Ladies. Or even Mrunal Thakur who has delivered some impactful performances.

Mr and Mrs. Mahi tells the story of a failed cricketer Mahendra Agarwal (Rajkummar Rao) and his doctor wife Mahima Agarwal (Janhvi Kapoor). Mahendra toils away in his father’s sport shop. Mahendra’s dream was to play for the national team however that didn’t transpire for many reasons. There is a constant undercurrent of tension, the father Hardayal Aggarwal (Kumud Mishra) considers Mahendra as a defective piece. The son on the other hand looks at himself as a complete zero. Adding to Mahendra’s woes is the elder brother Sikander Aggarwal (a caricaturist Arjit Taneja). Sikander is a big television actor whose face is seen on billboards; fans throng after him. This adds to Mahendra’s insecurity. Things take a turn when Mahendra comes upon his wife’s cricketing abilities. He manipulates Mahima into believing that she is made for cricket. Mahendra is successful in making Mahi a star, but their marriage takes a beating as Mahendra’s desire for fame has not been quenched.

One of the few redeeming features of Mr and Mrs Mahi is the top notch Rajkummar Rao. Yes, Mahendra is not a likeable person. On more than one occasion he comes across as very selfish and also insensitive but at the same time it is impossible to hate Mahendra completely thanks to the layered character and Rajkummar Rao’s portrayal. The way Rajkummar showcases the psyche of a broken man is a testament of his immense talent. The actor also raises some chuckles in the scenes where Mahendra records videos promoting himself on how Mahma has reached this far because of him.

The music composed by the various composers does make for a good listen and watch. A particular mention must be made of Vishal Mishra’s “Roya Jab Tu”. This song takes place when Mahendra and Mahi have a spilt and her game has taken a severe beating. Anay Goswami’s cinematography is suitably glossy and does make the movie visually appealing.

Director Sharan Sharma does make some important points on how the need for fame can drive a person insane and also the aftereffects of suppressing childhood dreams. However, these scenes are far and few in between.

A major problem with Mr and Mrs Mahi is the lack of depth in both the characterization and the acting performance of Janhvi. For most part the viewers see the film from the perspective of Mahendra and this leaves little room for Mahima. Often times she comes across as a pushover whether it is the father making her choose a doctor career or the husband manipulating her to become a cricketer. There is little agency here and by the time Mahima gives it back to Mahendra it becomes too late.

As mentioned in the beginning Janhvi needs to get out of her stock expressions. The emotions of fear and vulnerability are the same as we have already seen in the likes of Baawal and Mili. Sure, she has worked on the cricket aspect but other than that there is nothing new. Also, the cricketing aspect feels superficial given that Mahima is never seen fielding on the ground.

Mr and Mrs Mahi is strictly an average watch only elevated somewhat by Rajkummar Rao.

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