Streaming on Netflix 5th November 2021
Meenakshi Sundareshwar directed by Vivek Soni rests on a thin plot but the director makes it work with his packaging. He is also aided by his two charming actors in the lead roles. The major theme that Vivek Soni touches upon is the perils of long distance marriage. There are certain other themes which are used as a plot device to build up the drama.
The story of Meenakshi Sundareshwar is set in Madurai. The film begins off by setting up the character traits. Sanya Malhotra’s Meenakshi is a huge movie buff; she has also got the habit of reading books every night before she goes to sleep. In addition, she is also a crazy fan of Rajinikanth. She sees all his films first day first show. Abhimanyu Dassini’s Sundareshwar is a polar opposite. Movies put him to sleep, his only interest is coding. In general he is an introvert who holds back.
In a scene straight out of Tarun Bhaskar’s Pelli Choopulu Sundareshwar’s family comes to the wrong house, the leads come to know about this after they have chatted for a while. This is not the only similarity that the film shares with Pelli Choopulu. Sundareshwar’s father has a very low opinion about his son and he feels that his son is wasting his time in trying to make a career out of coding. Instead, the father wants him to join the family business of sarees. On the first night Sundareshwar gets a message from a company that he has to join urgently. Initially the long distance marriage is all hunky dory as they keep chatting on Skype but the lack of communication soon catches up and cracks begin to appear. Sundareshwar’s problems are further compounded by the fact that he has to hide his marital status from the boss. The reason being the company only wants bachelors. The rest of the story is about how the couple makes their marriage work.
The success of Meenakshi Sundareshwar lies in how Vivek Soni deals with the conflicts between the lead characters. Many young married couples would be able to relate to those problems. There is an important message that the director delivers. The message is about the importance of communication in a relationship. The best thing is that this message is conveyed in a non-preachy manner.
The differences in the personalities also form an important part of the film. These differences are used by Vivek Soni to explain why they are making rash decisions or even holding back when they don’t need to.
The film is also visually stunning thanks to the cinematography by Debojeet Ray. It presents Madurai in a gorgeous way. The music by Justin Prabhakaran is soothing to the ears,
For any romantic film chemistry between the leads plays an extremely important part, fortunately Sanya Malhotra and Abhimanyu Dassani don’t disappoint. They make for a charming pair. Sanya Malhotra particularly shines as a smart, confident woman. Her imitation of Rajinikanth in certain scenes is also fun to watch. Abhimanyu Dassani has less to play with but he still shines with his understated portrayal. The patch up of Meenakshi and Sunderswar happens in a theater which is playing Rajinikanth’s Darbar, it is over the top but it goes well with the mood of the film. The supporting characters don’t have a lot to do but they are efficient in their respective parts.
There is a special thanks which is given to Alia Bhatt at the beginning of the film. The reason for the thank you card is that Vivek Soni had first given the script to her; he wanted to know her opinion about the plot. He was an assistant directors on the sets of Shaandar and Udta Punjab, there they become friends and continued to stay in touch.
Alia loved the innocence of the characters and was thoroughly impressed. She then connected Vivek Soni to Karan Johar. That was how Karan Johar came on board and produced the film under Dharmatic entertainment.
Watch Meenakshi Sundareshwar for some good romance.