Delicately perched between a marital drama and romantic comedy Main Aurr Mrs Khanna is the surprise packet this Diwali. Not a big mithai and crackers ka dabba, mind you. But a tiny solitaire sparkling in the distance. Or a stubborn dewdrop perched on a trembling leaf.
First things first. Main Aurr Mrs Khanna is one of the most good-looking films in living memory. Every frame is mounted to please the eyes and nourish the soul. The Melbourne locations are lovely, specially the airport where a large part of the film unfolds like a flower opening its pouty bud with a seductive shrug of the branches.
Whether it's the azure oceans where the songs sometimes have a sighing say, the sleek interiors of a country where people would think twice before littering the floor or the half-tormented face of Kareena as she is caught in the dilemma of boarding a flight to freedom or despair, cinematographer Sudeep Chatterjee lets the lenses light up the frames.
The plot....ummm, let's see. When we first meet them, Mr. and Mrs. Khanna have a serious marital problem. He is jobless. She's eager not to make him feel like the wastrel that he is. But he's hell-bent on being bitter and angry. On the Melbourne airport Mr. Khanna tells his faithful and supportive wife that they are traveling on separate flights to separate countries.
As far we are concerned the marriage is over there and then. But the Bharatiya Nari has an immense storage space for injustice in her spacious heart. So Raina Khanna just waits it out in Melbourne, thanks to the kind comic quirky and constantly unpredictable attentions of the airport-cafeteria attendant Aakash (Sohail Khan).
This is a cool NRI version of Mahesh Bhatt's Arth done with a great regard for surface grace.
The entire loop showing Sohail as the besotted puppy-dog tailing the unsuspecting Raina in the hope of taking advantage of her marital estrangement is audaciously feisty.
Debutant director Prem R Soni attempts a mix of marriage and satire. The end-result is at times a little loose-limbed. But the heart is always in the right place.
The dialogues are often funny in a way that is a synthesis of studied spontaneity and bumper-sticker wisdom.
"Red wine is good for your heart," drawls Salman Khan to Kareena Kapoor over dinner.
"And champagne is good for your sweetheart," retorts Kareena.
There are many moments in the writing where an unspoken and delicate line is drawn between the comedy of errors and underlining tragedy of human relationships.
Two people very often miss the point about the nature of their true feelings for one another until it's too late.
Such must not be the fate if this sweet tender confectionary about Man, Woman and a Child-Man who falls hopelessly in love with a married woman whom he meets when she in transit in ways that not just about physical travel.
Kareena Kapoor lights up every frame beyond the spectacular work done by the technicians who toil silently behind this sweet little film. And Sohail Khan adds an extra spark to every sequence. It's not just the words but the way he says them, as though he wrote them himself.
When Mrs. Khanna, left stranded at the husband by her selfish husband, thanks the Sohail character for lending her his phone she also scolds him for eaves-dropping.
"I couldn't help it. You spoke with such intensity," adlibs Sohail. And before Mr. Khanna finally flies away to a happily-ever-after ending with Mrs. Khanna, Sohail says to Salman, "Mrs. Khanna never let me anywhere near her. At least you give me a hug."
Main Aurr Mrs Khanna gives us quite a few such huggable moments.
It's all done in the tone of a half-humourous bedroom satire, with an underbelly of seriousness that never quite reaches the surface.
But why is Salman Khan looking so tired and disinterested in most of the scenes barring the one where he tells Kareena to make up her mind about what the Sohail characters really means to her?
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