A love story set in a school is a rarity in Bollywood. MP3 - MERA PEHLA PEHLA PYAAR, as the title suggests, is about the first crush, the first love, which one cannot erase from memory.
MP3 is different from films of its ilk. The lovers here face no parental opposition, nor is there a rich / poor divide. The problems they encounter are pretty trivial, so common amongst adolescents.
MP3 isn't great cinema, it promises no path-breaking story either, but it succeeds in taking you back to those years in life when even holding a girl's hand was a big high. There's a certain innocence that this film captures effectively: the rawness that the characters exude, the shortcuts that teens undertake to impress their friends...
All said, MP3 has soul, something that's missing in most movies these days.
The film opens up with Rohan [Ruslaan], the male lead, catching a little more than the usual forty winks. As he wakes up just on time to scuttle away on his bicycle to school, en route his close friend Sudhir joins in.
Enter Ayesha [Hazel], a bright young fresher on her first trip to school, who ends up having this bizarre first-time experience with Rohan. While the latter is bunking class, he uses her as a shield to protect himself from the seething school principle. The meet ups thereafter are full of drama and gradually, the two fall in love.
But a misunderstanding ensues and an upset Ayesha leaves for France. Rohan desires to meet his Lady Love again. But how does he cross the umpteen hurdles to reach the Eiffel Tower?
There have been school / college romances in the past. Some worked, some didn't. MP3 doesn't attempt to make the bachchas behave like grown-ups and that's one of the reasons why it works.
The pranks are childish, but in sync with the mood of the film. While there's not much of a story to look forward to, the wheels start moving towards the penultimate reels, when the boy flies to Paris to meet his girlfriend. The last 20 odd minutes, when he asks her to reach the Eiffel Tower, and their respective journeys to the monument, is the best part of the enterprise.
Any shortcomings? Oh yes! For any love story to strike a chord, it ought to be embellished with a lilting musical score. In this case, the music is a letdown. Worse, the song that has been publicized the maximum, 'Mera Pehla Pehla Pyaar', is missing from the film. Strange, isn't it?
Robby Grewal shows a definite growth as a storyteller. His second outing has a cohesive script and the execution of a few scenes is just perfect. The climax, especially, is noteworthy. Cinematography is up to the mark. The locales of Prague and Paris are enticing.
Ruslaan does very well. Good-looking, camera-friendly and confident, he has the potential to be the new kid on the block. Hazel looks pretty and compliments Ruslaan. Ruslaan's friends and also the actor playing Shantu are natural. Kanwaljeet Singh is nice. The actors playing Hazel's mom and aunt pitch in fine performances. Manoj Pahwa is spontaneous. Gaurav Gera does a fine job.
On the whole, MP3 is a cute film that succeeds in its mission of pleasing its target audience -- the teens. At the box-office, the patronage from its target audience should see the film through to the safety mark.