Meenakshi Sundareshwar is a movie about a couple who attempt to make a long-distance relationship work. However, things soon begin to unravel and end in an unsatisfying conclusion.
Meenakshi Sundareshwar, recently released on Netflix, produced by Karan Johar and directed by Vivek Soni, stars Sanya Malhotra and Abhimanyu Dasani in lead roles. Abhimanyu is industry veteran Bhagyashree’s (Main nay Pyaar Kiya) son. This is his debut film. He stars alongside Sanya Malhotra who made her debut with Dangal, which was very popular. The film attempts to explore the complications in long distance relationships.
Malhotra and Abhimanyu meet through a strange twist of fate. By the time the groom’s family realises that they are in the wrong house, the girl’s grandfather has already decided that this was destined to be and gives his blessing to the union. The couple gets married in a famous temple in Madurai, bearing both their names, Meenakshi and Sundareshwar. Everyone around the couple considers the union a plan of the gods, and it is solemnised at a sacred temple in Tamil Nadu.
On their wedding night, Sundar (short for Sundareshwar) receives a text informing him of an interview the next day. He spends the better part of the night preparing for it while his wife awaits his return and eventually falls asleep. The next day, she discovers a letter for her husband in the garbage. It is an internship offer from an extremely prestigious company in Bangalore, an opportunity which Sundar has been anxiously waiting for as he is determined to carve his own path in life since he is not interested in joining the family saree business.
As an engineer, he has been job hunting for the last year but has not managed to land a suitable opportunity. He has been constantly castigated by his father for refusing to join the family business. Although this film promises to be different, the pairing does not work. This bogs down the story. The on-screen chemistry is missing from the relationship and the intimate scenes seem awkward. Abhimanyu is a promising actor but pales in front of his talented co-star, Sanya Malhotra, who brightens up the screen with her mere presence and natural acting.
The sub-plots fail to make an impact because the editing, screenplay and the direction are weakly executed. These subplots have not been fully developed but seem to have been added as an afterthought in a failed attempt to keep the momentum going.
Sundar leaves for Bangalore only to find out that the company hires bachelors only. This leads to him keeping his marriage a secret. The two communicate regularly via video calls and try their best to keep the spark alive, but an unfortunate turn of events lands the relationship in trouble.
The director has attempted to include some light moments in the film like when Meenakshi sends her husband a pair of handcuffs and he sends her a police uniform in an effort to add some oomph and spark to their physical relationship which never took off. This is supposed to ignite and keep the spark alive for the newlyweds but sadly falls flat on its face and the movie slowly goes downhill.
The movie feels stretched and although the supporting cast is adequate, it fails to make the desired impact. Some scenes seem forced while others could simply have been deleted. The misunderstanding between Meenakshi’s friend and her grandmother in law rests on a very weak premise. A number of ineffective subplots have been introduced like Meenakshi’s friend who provides a shoulder for her to cry on and represents someone she turns to when things are hard, or Sunder’s friend who blows the whistle on his marital status to score brownie points with the boss and sabotage his chances of being offered full-time employment with the company.
The sub-plots fail to make an impact because the editing, screenplay and the direction are weakly executed. These subplots have not been fully developed and seem to have been added as an afterthought in a failed attempt to keep the momentum going. The ending is predictable.
The film fails to make an impact and drags for the last half an hour. It is obvious that the director was grasping at straws in the end to meet the running time requirement. In short, Sanya Malhotra is the only saving grace for the film. Even she cannot save a film where there is zero chemistry between the lead couple, the sub-plots are half-baked, the editing is poor and direction weak. You can safely give this one a miss.
The writer is an educationist and can be reached at gaiteearahotmail.com