Then the singing enveloped me. It was furry and resonant, coming from everyone’s very heart. There was no sense of performance or judgment, only that the music was breath and food.
Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith
Meri Pyaari Bindu, this week’s new release, can be neatly divided into three chapters- Love, Ambitions and Music. First, let’s talk about love.
Abhimanyu Roy (Ayushmann Khurrana) meets Bindu Shankarnarayanan (Parineeti Chopra) in 1983, when Kapil Dev lifted the World Cup for the Indian Cricket Team and Kishore Kumar sang Taki O Taki in that year’s biggest blockbuster, Himmatwala.
All these references are given to the audiences by our male protagonist, a successful writer who’s suggested to write about sex as that’s the only time when people don’t judge each other’s dress sense.
The female lead, meanwhile, is a convoluted and confused mess. She aspires to be everything, right from the Prime Minister to even a Dhoban. So when these two meet, it’s immediate attraction for the boy but sadly the girl is only interested in the Chatni and the Samosas, a point you’ll understand better when you see the film. As years pass by, we see multiple montages of our hero-heroine’s unshakable bond and breathtaking fun. Till the time the hero realizes he loves her, and he knows she feels the same.
Everything is going smooth and perfect till the time the second chapter steps in- Ambition.
The girl aspires to be a singer and even agrees to be a dubbing artist for Tamil Films till she lands her first big break. In one moving scene, Bindu, who has just recorded her first album, is standing outside a music store, in the hope that someone will buy her music CD, but everything goes in vain and very soon, those discs are removed. Pained and Broken, her aspirations and dreams are shaken. It is to the testimony of Chopra’s finesse that she makes this failure fully palpable and relatable. And after a very long time, we have a hero, who actually doesn’t care what he wants, he’s more concerned about what the girl wants. And even when they aren’t together, the third chapter, which is the essence of this film, binds them together- Music.
Today, when the Gen-Next would bond over reruns of the TV Sitcom, Friends or Game Of Thrones, Bindu and Abhi bond over old Hindi film music. In fact, Bindu has been named after the song from Padosan- O Meri Pyaari Bindu.
However, she detests her name, “Is Naam Ke saath main star kaise banoongi?”, she asks our hero. They, later on, decide to record their ten most favorite songs, songs which are attached to their lives, in a cassette which later becomes Abhi’s most priceless possession. Ayushmann Khurrana, after Dum Laga Ke Haisha (2015), yet again takes us to a trip to nostalgia. Displaying a range of emotions and poetic dialogues, mostly involving film references, he shines throughout the film’s running time.
Chopra, as dependable always, brings both piquancy and grace in her performance. And yes, grief too.
Meri Pyaari Bindu is further elevated by the soothing musical score by Sachin-Jigar, who deliver one of their most melodious albums.
In the end, it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but then, music is something that cannot appeal to all. I mean, how many would listen to Rafi and Kishore when you have Justin Bieber ?