Meenakshi Sundareshwar Movie Review: Let me say this at the start of this review – as a South Indian brought up in Mumbai all his lifetime, I have one piece of advice for Karan Johar’s production house – please DO NOT make another movie about South Indian demography. Especially, if it is as irksome as you have shown in your new movie on Netflix, Meenakshi Sundareshwar. Starring Sanya Malhotra and Abhimanyu Dassani in the lead, Meenakshi Sundareshwar is Dharma’s new attempt to set a contrived love story in Tamil Nadu. Needless to say, I am not a big fan of this attempt, despite how cute a couple Sanya and Abhimanyu make on the screen. Meenakshi Sundareshwar Song Vaada Machaney: Abhimanyu Dassani’s Crazy Moves and Fun Beats Make This Track a Perfect Party Number!
Meenakshi (Malhotra) and Sundareshwar (Abhimanyu) meet during a match-making process that is lifted straight out of Vijay Deverakonda and Ritu Varma’s Pelli Choopulu (remade in Hindi as Mitron). Even the characteristics of both the protagonists feel similar to the leads of the Telugu hit. She is bold, outspoken and confident. He is meek and is under the thumb of his strict father, while wanting to do something on his own, outside the family business.
However, instead of going for a business partnership that the Pelli Choopulu couple did, Meenakshi and Sundareshwar opt for another partnership – the matrimonial one. It doesn’t matter that they hardly know each other, or he doesn’t have a job of his own. Thankfully for them, the film is set in Madurai, and there is the popular Meenakshi Sundareshwar temple there, and that’s reason enough for both the families to agree to the marriage because the couple has the same name as the temple.
But before they could enjoy the matrimonial bliss, Sundareshwar gets a job posting letter on the very next day of their wedding, that has him shift to Bengaluru on an immediate basis. Soon this newly-minted relationship faces not only the troubles of long-distance relationship, but also plenty of convenient plot contrivances.
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Meenakshi Sundareshwar is Dharma’s way of celebrating, not the South Indian culture, but all the associated South tropes. Because, it seems 2 States wasn’t enough. Many times, the movie feels like a caricature playbook meets a Chetan Bhagat novel (the author also gets an inspired mention here), what with its exploration of every Tamilian and engineer cliches. Hitting and hurting two demographics with one stone here, well done!
Meenakshi Sundareshwar is South Indian culture seen through a North Indian purview. From the TamBram families in the focus to the heroine being a Rajinikanth fan (the climax sees the audience cheer one of the superstar’s weakest films, Darbar) to the hilarious sprinkling of choice Tamil words to remind us that these are Tamil characters to the production design, nothing feels natural here. But then what can you expect when the director, the writers (Vivek Soni and Aakash Vora) and most of the main cast don’t come from the same region!
Even more irksome are the plot conflicts added to make us care for Meenakshi and Sundareshwar’s love story, that despite their chemistry, have no feet to begin with. The main conflict from Sundar’s new company whose annoying boss (who in a scene inspired from 3 Idiots, gets his hair trimmed in front of his employees) has this clause that he only wants singles in his team for a year, resulting in Sundar trying to hide his marital status from everyone and not allowing Meenakshi to come and meet him in Bengaluru. Meenakshi Sundareshwar Song Mann Kesar Kesar: Sanya Malhotra, Abhimanyu Dassani’s Track Is a Soothing Melody With Warmth and Love.
What’s funny here is that Sundareshwar actually reveals that he is married during the induction event of his joining, which both he, and the film, conveniently forgets. Also why would Sundareshwar chose not to visit his village over the weekends is ridiculously unexplained. He has time to have birthday parties and hang out with his friends, even with the work deadlines hanging on his head. Madurai and Bengaluru are in two different states, but one night’s train journey is enough from him to have a weekend trip to his home-town. It’s like not just Tamil culture, the makers are also clueless about how corporate culture and geography also work. Moreover, these sequences make Sundareshwar look like a misogynistic idiot, rather than someone who in desperate need to prove himself.
The sequence where Meenakshi and Sundar’s father gate-crash at Sundar’s company makes you scratch your heads in bewilderment. Why would Meenakshi even pull that stunt even though she knows it would affect her husband’s work there? Towards the end, because the long-distance conflict wasn’t enough, the writers also add in a third angle of Meenakshi’s old friend, who has a crush on her.
It’s not that the film’s narrative didn’t have promise, something it fleetingly teases. The long-distance relationship hassles should have had more concrete roadblocks, instead of what was shown here. Meenakshi coping with living with a joint family sans her husband which should have been explored in a better manner. Instead, we get this one scene of her father-in-law not allowing her to go for job, or this supposedly comic scene where her in-laws gate-crash their online role-play session, making us wonder if she is so daft enough to not lock the door of her bedroom in the first place!
Still, Meenakshi Sundareshwar is somewhat watchable for the earnest performances of its lead stars. It is hard not to fall for Sanya as she does an inimitable Thalaiva impression, or for Abhimanyu dancing no holds barred to “Vaada Machaney” song. Their chemistry is very much likeable, and make us somewhat ignore the weak writing around them, when they are together. Another major attraction is Justin Prabhakaran’s score. All the songs are immensely pleasant!
– Sanya Malhotra and Abhimanyu Dassani
– The Music
– The Oblivious Writing
– Plentiful of Cliches
Meenakshi Sundareshwar is love story riddled with cliches, dumb contrivances and weak writing, saved only by the likeability of its lead stars, and the music. Meenakshi Sundareshwar is streaming on Netflix.
(The above story first appeared on Onhike on Nov 05, 2021 12:31 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website onhike.com).