Malaal Movie Reviews & Rating

STORY: When a rowdy Shiva’s world collides with that of a demure Aastha’s, whose family has just moved into the chawl he resides in, sparks fly between them. But given their completely different backgrounds, is there any scope for their romance to bloom and survive?

REVIEW: ‘Malaal’ is set in the Mumbai of the late 90’s. And just like in many cinemas of that era, twenty two-year-old Shiva (Meezaan) is the local ‘tapori’ – raw, rustic and temperamental. The quintessential bad boy who spends his day getting into street fights, drinking and gambling. His life within the confines of his chawl doesn’t go beyond brawls at home or on the street till he stumbles upon Aastha Tripathi (Sharmin Segal). The Tripathis have newly moved to this modest living space after running into financial troubles.

At first their interactions are brusque, mostly owing to his stand-offish nature but soon Shiva finds himself falling in love with her. But while he is upfront and lets on his feelings to her rather openly, Aastha has her reservations. Not only is she pursuing a degree in CA and is soon to be engaged to the son of a well-to-do family friend, Shiva’s clear disregard towards even trying to have a career bothers her. As for her parents, they have already written him off as a good for nothing and want their daughter to have nothing to do with him. But soon enough, it seems Aastha too is falling for him.

With well- crafted romantic and intense moments, Malaal is a simmering love story that sucks you into its world. While it may not have the grandeur and lavish scale usually mounted in a Sanjay Leela Bhansali production the mood and ambience created by director Mangesh Hadawale captures the bustle and flavor of a Mumbai chawl beautifully. Especially the festival scenes that add a gorgeous hue to the setting. Add to that an addictive background score and top notch cinematography. Details like bus shelter hoardings of The Titanic (reflecting the actual release date of that year) and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam are used to show the passage of time, with the recurring motif of timeless music from the movies of the 90s adding a nice touch. The film’s vibrant soundtrack lingers on, especially the romantic number ‘Naad Khula’ and the haunting and melancholic title track, ‘Ek Malaal’. However in the second half, the pace tends to lag at times. Malaal is the remake of the 2004 Tamil film, 7G Rainbow Colony.

Complete with the 90s hero vibe, Meezaan makes a striking debut with his strong screen presence taking over the frame. Sharmin Segal too holds her own with her pleasant and innocent act and the onscreen couple share an instant chemistry which makes them likeable.

‘Malaal’ is reminiscent of sweet romances when handwritten notes were actually a thing and it’s tender moments like these that sets the film apart. This one is for those who want to soak themselves into a full-blown love story.