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Review: Mandira sparkles in Meerabai Not Out

Review: Mandira sparkles in Meerabai Not Out

Source: Sify

By: Sonia Chopra

Critic's Rating: 17/5

Friday 5 December 2008

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Movie Title

Meerabai Not Out

Director

Chandrakant Kulkarni

Star Cast

Mandira Bedi, Anupam Kher, Eijaz Khan, Mahesh Manjrekar, Vandana Gupte, Prateeksha Lonkar Anil Kumble, Charu Sharma, Kishore Pradhan

Meerabai Not Out?s poster has Mandira Bedi in stilettos, wearing just a T-shirt. The film makes fun of this as central protagonist Meera reacts to a man remarking about her resemblance to Mandira Bedi.

?Main poore kapde pehenti hoon,? she shouts out at the unsuspecting fellow who made the comparison. You smile at this sporting, self-deprecating dig. This genial tone of humour is retained throughout the film, save a few portions where it slips.

Meerabai Not Out begins with a song that?s been shot awkwardly and serves no purpose. Next, we meet Meera Achrekar, a Math teacher at the VishwaPrem School and a cricket enthusiast. Her passion for the game has her solving Math problems using cricket lingo, much to the delight of her devoted students.

Dressed in crisp ethnics, long hair tied neatly, glasses perched on the pert nose and sitting astride on her scooter, Meera is immediately identifiable as the affable girl next door.

Her family comprises a jaded brother (Mahesh Manjrekar) ? a closet cricket lover who has forsaken all pleasures in life for household responsibilities, a bhabhi who?s stepped straight out of a saas-bahu serial, and a nephew Chickoo who?s cute as a button.

Making everyone?s life miserable is the churlish mother (Vandana Gupte), who cannot be happy for Meera unless she?s married. Undeterred, feisty Meera continues as the unofficial cricketing spokesperson of her housing locality and roots wholeheartedly for her favourite Anil Kumble.

Arriving in a long car is Prince Charming in the form of Dr Arjun (Eijaz Khan) who underestimates Meera?s obsession for cricket leading to some surprises.

Meerabai Not Out is a breezy story, but the fun is spoilt by a few regressive turns. Take the match that is played between her brother and Arjun to decide her fate. Or the emphasis on marriage, almost as if her success at work or the satisfaction she derives from her passion mean zilch. Disappointingly, she does say that her ?cricket chapter is closed? to win over her father-in-law (which doesn?t really happen).

Director Chandrakant Kulkarni?s style is simple and effective. But sometimes, his methods for taking the story forward are pass? ? for example, we are spoon-fed introductions to all the characters through the omnipresent V.O.

Mandira Bedi makes Meera a very likeably quirky character: you?re rooting for her at every turn. Plus she?s so delightful when she?s dancing with the boys at local festivals, and painting her face with the Indian flag to show her solidarity.

Those who?ve seen Mandira Bedi in the play Anything But Love already know she?s a knock-out performer. But for others, Bedi is a revelation, folding a range of emotions expertly. Her fresh-faced, minimally done-up look is a relief from the over styled mainstream characters of our films.

Arjun is an interesting character as well ? he falls for his spirited girlfriend and then wonders if he can handle it. He loves Meera dearly and even respects her passion for cricket, but falls weak and cannot stand up for her under pressure from his dad. Eijas Khan as Arjun does very well, bringing out the grey shades nicely.

Arjun?s father is the party pooper who?s not sporting enough (pun intended) to accept a cricket loving bahu. Anupam Kher as the disapproving fuddy-duddy is good as usual. Mahesh Manjrekar as Manoj Achrekar gives a wonderful performance.

Prateeksha Lonkar (also played the young mother in Iqbal) is earnest. Vandana Gupte, albeit talented, is getting typecast as the overbearing matriarch. Anil Kumble is likeable as the riddled-with-hiccups cricket star.

Technically, the film is alright. Dialogue is interesting and very today. For some reason, the urban characters keep pronouncing hospital as aspatal like in yesteryear films. The editing is lax and could have trimmed several repetitive dialogues and scenes. For the unique story and Mandira Bedi?s class act, Meerabai Not Out, is well, not out.

Verdict: Two-and-a-half stars

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