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MIRZA (Punjabi) - With more style and less content its path-breaking for sure but further ruins the already negative image of Sahiba. (Review by Bobby Sing)
08 Apr, 2012 | Movie Reviews / 2012 Releases

Beginning on a positive note, Punjabi Cinema is desperately willing to break free from its decades old set mold from the last few years. Jimmy Shergill’s DHARTI made the ball rolling in 2011 and now Baljit Singh Deo’s MIRZA has further raised the standard of Punjabi Film Industry taking it to many new, much desired welcome heights with his technically sound film based on a known plot.

So, from that angle MIRZA is a path breaking film, which gives new dimensions to Punjabi Cinema through its exceptional budget, presentation and cinematography as never seen before in a regional film. Baljit Singh Deo, after having achieved mastery in making music videos has undoubtedly made a film which surpasses all the Punjabi films made till date considering its technical aspects. But with a heavy heart I have to say that unfortunately my positive notes for the movie end up right here.
MIRZA which was the most hyped and awaited movie of the year 2012 in Punjabi Cinema, disappoints majorly in its other departments apart from the technical excellence and performances of both Gippy Grewal and Honey Singh. In real terms, Honey is the only person in the entire film who is able to generate both applause as well as laughter in the theater through his well conceived portrayal of a Gangster with a comic touch. And therefore he surely deserves to be featured in a solo hero movie soon in the lead role.
Now coming to the discouraging points of the movie, first of all it was a pretty bad idea of its producers or the company to make such a big movie with a huge budget on an already known story based on a famous folk tale. In the era where viewers are expecting new stories, this major decision ruins the very first curiosity factor related with the film as the viewer already knows what kind of script he is going to see even before the film gets started. So as far as the storyline is concerned, there is neither any surprise nor any novelty in the script shortlisted by the makers to present before the over excited audience.
Secondly, right from the first scene itself, director Baljit Singh gives too much emphasis on his shot taking, camera angles, frames, slow motions, action and overall look of the project in order to make it a breakthrough film. And in this process he gives minimum attention to the other comparatively more important aspects of the film resulting in a big mistake. For instance, he perfectly makes sure that his characters look good on the screen but fails to generate any kind of chemistry in his love birds. It was strange to see that no one noticed that the girl Mandy Thakur looked more matured (in both body and looks) in front of the slim Gippy Grewal. Due to which the viewers never feels any kind of epic love developing between the characters in any of their scenes together. To be straight, in a film called MIRZA based on a great love story told in the most modern way, the basic component of the script which is LOVE remains completely emotionless and plastic throughout the film.
The next point is regarding the use of “A Deliberately Added” comedy track in the film which has no connection with the plot or story progression of the script from any angle. Here I would like to raise a question, that at one end the director and his team is trying to make a trendsetting film in Punjabi Cinema with a superlative cinematography and execution. But on the other hand they are still clinging on to the same ages old fixed format of adding some comedy scenes in the film featuring two well known comic faces who otherwise have no role to play in the script. Frankly, we still need to get rid of this dualistic kind of mind-frame urgently in order to make a real breakthrough.
Fourthly the film progresses in a very slow manner which makes the viewer uneasy post intermission. In other words, since the viewer already knows what is going to happen next, so everything should have been shown in a fast and entertaining manner in order to keep everyone hooked on to the screen. But with a lazy kind of screenplay, its quite a lengthy film which required severe editing of scenes and less slow motions taking much time.
The music is another major disappointment in the film as we all expected much more from the team of Honey Singh, Gippy Grewal and Speed Records. Evidently they have earlier given us much better and enjoyable tracks in their individual solo albums than the songs featuring in the soundtrack of MIRZA. Truly speaking I really couldn’t enjoy any other track apart from the one sung by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan in the entire film. Also the background score has been used aggressively, even in the places where it was not required. In clear words, it is not essential to put background music in each and every scene of the film and the sequences need to be given a silent breathing space too. But MIRZA has a screeching background score running throughout the movie which continuously annoys the viewer in a teasing way.
Coming to a point related to the image of girl depicted in the film, I strongly oppose the way the writers and director have portrayed the girl’s character in their film in a rather ridiculous and highly objectionable way. For the readers who are less familiar with the Traditional Folk Love Stories of India & Punjab, there is a lot of respect given to the females in our stories, taking their names first before the male lovers. Like Heer-Ranjha, Shiri-Farhad, Laila-Majnu, and Sassi-Punnu. In all these names, the girl is addressed first and the boy is second. Whereas in only one story of Mirza-Sahiba, the name of boy comes first and the girl is second.
The reason being that in this particular love story, Sahiba betrayed Mirza by breaking his arrows while he was asleep since she feared that he will kill all her brothers. And when her brothers find them both sleeping under a tree they brutally kill the weapon-less Mirza and he dies in Sahiba’s arms due to her questionable decision. But the story doesn’t end here and Sahiba feeling the guilt of becoming Mirza’s cause of death, kills herself too with a dagger and dies proving her true love for her beloved. So in this traditional story, though Sahiba at first betrays Mirza but then realizes her mistake and sacrifices her own life for their true love, justifying her earlier betrayal. But still whenever this folk lore is sung or told, SAHIBA is always more or less presented in a negative shade as compared to the fully devoted girls in the other famous love stories.  
However in this latest version of the story adapted for the big screen, the writers further enhance the negative image of the girl to many folds and don’t make SAHIBA kill herself in the end (in a very silly manner). She silently takes out the bullets from Mirza’s gun but does nothing after he dies. In true words, I really found it very objectionable and hilarious to see that MIRZA is being killed by the girl’s brother in front of her eyes and she keeps on crying but never feels the guts to snatch away a gun and kill herself as a true lover. So her beloved dies and the girl returns to sweet home with her brothers. Now what kind of GREAT LOVE STORY was that remains out of my understanding? (May be the writers kept her alive in order to make a MIRZA-2).
So where the original traditional story gives the chance to SAHIBA to prove her true love for MIRZA, the writers of this new-age love story portray SAHIBA as a very selfish, coward and mean kind of girl who willfully chooses to save her own life after the death of her so called beloved. Hence as I see it, this was a very silly and weird kind of love story chosen by the makers of MIRZA in the name of presenting something new. Plus this also reminds of another highly ridiculous scene in the film, where a father is explaining his son about “A female’s untrusting nature (Her Charitra)” while his daughter is standing right next to him. And I literally felt like laughing out loud on this “Well-thought of scene”.
In the performance section, Gippy Grewal acts well as per his written character and one cannot blame him for all the stiffness and rough nature of his acting. Mandy Thakur looks gorgeous in some selected outfits. She acts fine but is a misfit for this role of Sahiba as she looked quite older than Gippy. Binnu Dhillon and B. N. Sharma are just there to do their job professionally. Rahul Dev again has done nothing new and all the brothers have overacted in their short roles.
Nevertheless the only winning soul of MIRZA is HONEY SINGH, who unarguably wins each and every heart in the theater whether one likes the film or not. He is a revelation as an actor and definitely has a long way to go in films too along with his HIT music. Technically the film is the first of its kind in Punjabi Cinema and director Baljit Singh Deo brightly showcases his talent of making it big. But here Punjabi film-makers and Industry needs to understand one important thing mentioned below.
“The viewers watching a Punjabi Film are the same viewers who are regularly watching all the new Bollywood & even Hollywood films too. So its of no use giving them the same thing in the name of New-Age Punjabi Cinema, which they have already seen in all the new Bollywood movies. The Punjabi film audience needs to be given technically well crafted movies such as MIRZA along with new subjects and stories which can entertain them as well win over them in an emotional manner. We have to move over all our traditional subjects and should not simply try to imitate Bollywood or Hollywood to make our big budget Punjabi Movies. That way the problem will still remain the same of “Hesitating in trying something fresh”.
So taking MIRZA as a major step on the road of making much better and big movies in Punjabi Cinema, I would like to call it “A technically well made film with less content”. And I sincerely wish the makers had chosen another subject and script for their current major project.

Rating : 2 / 5 (Including 1 only for its technical excellence)

Tags : MIRZA (Punjabi), Review, more style and less content, path-breaking for sure, ruins the already negative image of Sahiba, Review by Bobby Sing, Punjabi Film Reviews, Punjabi Cinema, New Punjabi Film Reviews by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, Honey Singh's debut movie, Mirza Sahiba, Movies on Punjab's Folk Tales.
08 Apr 2012 / Comment ( 2 )
Jagroop,Canada

Bobby you are good in your analysis about film Mirza. Baljit Deo is a talented cinematographer. His ability as a screen writer and putting on screen (Director) is still questionable. If ever you had a chance to watch his JAG JIYONDYA DE MELE, you may find his limitation as a director. In this film (Mirza) he was writer, director and editor. So there is no channel for input from second person (Technically),. When he sits in editor chair it his writer part over shadow his editor part. There are more chances for a film to be turn out in a good product if director and editor are 2 persons.

To add on, I want to say that Director is a like cook who has ingredient for recipe and he should know who is going to eat it (customer). So what makes a good cook is his practical knowledge of understanding the taste of customer. With a same token film director whenever perceive an idea and make a plot (screen play) he should know his audience. Especially in Punjabi film industry it is easy to find directors but producers.

Usually Punjabi producers finish with one or two film. Name any producers who survived 2 films as a financer. So regardless how creative is a director, if he can't bring money back in to his produce's pocket, it is hard for a director to sustain that long in this industry. In general Punjabi people are termed as with colorful way of life or you can say that even if it a serious message they like to take it in a lighter way. Mr. Deo is very good in cinematography especially when it comes to playing with lights (night scenes). That is a asset with him as a technocrat. As most of the scenes happen in night time in this film So from that angle gloomy look of movie doesn't go with very nature of PUNJABI CINEMA GOERS.

Secondly no doubt film drags. Editing wise film is not that strong. You can say to a extent transitional wise editing ok but during progress of a particular scene unnecessary cut aways are inserted that disrupts focus on characters. When it needs close up or medium shots to make the audience catch the emotions of a characters in a particular setup , long shot is used instead. Gippy could be a good singer but as a actor there is some other opinion especially when he delivers dialogue as he got husky voice. It doesn't mean husky voice is bad as Rani Mukharji has one, but in order to cover that drawback some one need to sharp his acting skill body gesture wise. Honey Singh in given scenario is excellent.

Even though Binu Dhillon and BN Sharma are good actors but they were fail to impress mostly because of content of comedy and the way camera shots were used. Unless it is a situational comedy, verbal comedy is very hard to use just with camera angles or framing. first your actor should be in a constant flow of comic emotions and unnecessary cut aways kill that moments. When ever we watch a movie we usually go shot by shot that make scenes and eventually film. so there should be a subtle thread of emotions that carry us from one scene to another.

As this thread is very delicate so a very minute mistake whether it is camera angle or type of shots or reaction of actors and how long those emotions stay on screen all these ingredients add to make a film hit or miss. It was also a mistake to use Binu dhillon as Mirza's father (double role). As a audience when same person you are watching in comic role so how you can relate to his being in sincere role unless both characters are develop in such a way that they are strong enough to over power audiences reservation to that.  
A good effort but lacks perfectionism.

Bobby Sing

Hi Jagroop,
Thanks for your detailed comment on MIRZA analysing it from the right angel.
The film did lack many things and therefore could only remain a good attempt but not more than that.

Do write in more often as there is lot more in the world of Cinema.
Cheers!
HIS BLESSINGS

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