Film Review: Main Aurr Mrs Khanna

Main Aurr Mrs Khanna

Directed by: Prem R. Soni

Starring: Salman Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Sohail Khan, Yash Tonk, Nauheed Cyrisi, Bappi Lahiri and Preity Zinta

Having seen Blue the previous night, I was really excited about Main Aurr Mrs Khanna (MAMK) and had high hopes for the film – after all, it has a decent star cast, a really nice soundtrack (with Don’t Say Alvida and Happening two of my favourite tracks) and with an interesting trailer, the omens were good for MAMK – until the film started…

MAMK is the story of Samir Khanna (Salman Khan) and his wife Raina (Kapoor) who live in Melbourne, Australia. Whilst life may appear picture perfect, all is not well as Samir has no job whilst Raina works as a waitress, and eventually Samir’s frustration becomes a stumbling block in the marriage. Samir is then offered the chance to find work in Singapore, which he takes but then decides Raina must go back to India whilst he finds work – and drops this bombshell a few hours before the respective flights leave. Whilst Samir gets his flight to Singapore, Raina stays behind in Melbourne and is befriended by Akaash (Sohail Khan) who falls in love with her as she waits for Samir to return to Melbourne – but does she love him back?

Technically, MAMK is not a smooth product. The film has been dubbed over rather than shot in sync sound which is not unusual for Bollywood but the result here is that what we hear is not what we see. Furthermore, the film feels a bit strange at times in that there are some weird edits that slow and speed up the action unnaturally as well as some glaring continuity errors, particularly with Salman’s hair. As a result of this, the viewer is left with a sense of unease and at worst, disconnected just as any sort of connection is made with the film.

MAMK also suffers from a weak script, which gives the film an acute identity crisis. At times the film wants to be a “realistic” film but then clumsily changes gears to Bollywood melodrama and then worse, tries to go back to realism again. The relationships between Samir and Rania and Akaash and Rania are poorly established so that at the end of the film, we are left wondering why Rania had such a difficult choice to make and why she makes the decision she does. There is also a lot of unnecessary preaching and pointless dialogues that kill the momentum of the film and seem awkwardly placed.

The film does have some strong points – the pre-interval scene with Rania and Akaash is well executed and there are some funny comedy moments courtesy of Sohail’s comic timing post interval. The Happening song is also well done, adding a much-needed dose of fun to proceedings and justifying the film’s Diwali release status. Kareena is also styled very well in the film, looking glam in wrap dresses and cardigans before graduating to a more sophisticated look with trench coats and a rather fetching Gucci bag. Despite some of the portions of the film looking dated, Kareena looks bang on trend, with some very fetching get-ups. Sadly, Salman looks like he is recycling some looks from Hum Aapke Hain Koun (how else can the mustard trouser teamed with western denim shirt be explained???)

Performance wise, Salman has little to do in the film. It seems the only time he comes alive is in a scene where he finds out Rania was considering marrying Akash and even that feels contrived. His understated anger does not find justification and though Salman fans will enjoy his work, others may not be as kind. Thank god then for Kareena, who despite poor characterisation and direction, manages to be the backbone of the film and puts in a tamed performance and makes us understand why everyone is in love with Mrs Khanna. She also shows a range of acting skills, from comedy to emotional scenes and certainly emerges giving a good account of herself. Preity Zinta’s cameo is plain weird and all the talk of her playing a crucial character is unfounded – PZ is an item girl in this film and to her credit, has fun with the part as do we but we are left wondering why such a great actress is wasted in such a cameo.

The real winners in this film are the supporting cast – Sohail Khan is actually very good, even though he is playing a role he has done before (the randy bachelor with a heart) and though he irritates at times, he also amuses in equal measure. Nauheed Cyrisi is suitably slutty as Rania’s confidante and interacts well with the rest of the cast. Yash Tonk is good as Akaash’s roommate of dubious sexuality but for me, the star was Bappi Lahiri as a shop manager. Whether it was his crazy bling and pimped up style of dressing or the sincerity with which he delivers his lines, Bappi steals all the scenes he was in and provides real entertainment for the viewer.

All in all, MAMK is not a must watch in cinema and even on DVD, can be watched on fast forward. There is a surprise cameo at the end (not Preity) but the way that sequence is messed up and ends the film is indicative of the whole film. MAMK could have been a really good film and a few years ago, may even have been perceived differently but sadly, feels outdated and boring. Another Diwali release bites the dust!

(Previously posted on on 16th October 2009)

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