It’s Calcutta in the 1980s. A young Abhimanyu (Ayushmann Khurrana) meets a young Bindu (Parineeti Chopra). A song from the ’50s, “Aaiye Mehereban” plays as their friendship blooms. Year later, the two are still best friends; still poles apart as people – Bindu is spontaneous and elusive while Abhimanyu tries to stay out of trouble, a stereotypical Bengali bhalo chela (goody two-shoes).
As the film spans across the ’80s, ’90s, and the present, it’s like their love story is just not meant to be.
Yet, despite facing heartbreaks several times, Abhimanyu can’t give up on his love for Bindu. Bindu, on the other hand, routinely runs away from her problems to find herself. The back-and-forth of their relationship culminates in a depiction of modern-day love that has been done a thousand times. We know Abhimanyu’s story but haven’t a clue about why Bindu is the way she is.
Meri Pyaari Bindu feels like a mish-mash of popular rom-coms like Runaway Bride and 500 Days of Summer, with a good-looking cast and the story of the why nots, the what ifs, and the what could have beens. For a film pitched as a brand new “take on love” with a tinge of retro, it’s disappointing to be reminded of so many other films, to encounter just another familiar Hindi cinema rom-com.
A Hindi pulp fiction writer goes back to his home in Calcutta, reminiscing over his days with Bindu, his next door neighbour and best friend. She has a track record of disappearing when the going gets tough. We know this through Abhimanyu. Mysterious, spunky, and ambitious despite facing blatant rejection career-wise, Bindu is that one girl who comes and goes in a boy’s life, making even the boy’s parents’ say that he’s wasting his time. Not because there’s something wrong with Bindu, but because the boy is too damn slow to see they aren’t exactly ‘compatible’. Or meant to be.
Still, anyone who is a sucker for rom-coms would want to be on Abhimanyu’s side given that he follows Bindu around like a lovestruck puppy. Sadly, the friendship-to-love story is so half-baked, that we find ourselves agreeing with the parents. Abhimanyu wastes his time, ruins his relationship with his girlfriend, slacks off on work, and engages in fairly expensive bets with his roommate, all for this love for Bindu.
And when she runs away, after realising things aren’t working out, he’s the only one surprised.
While the first half established their relationship – it is love on Abhimanyu’s side and somewhere between love and friendship for Bindu – the second half is merely a tool to further the boy’s point of view of why he and Bindu should actually be together. Even though the girl is obviously looked at as someone commitment-phobic and confusing.
It’s eerily similar to 500 Days of Summer, that one film where everybody likes to believe that Joseph Gordon Levitt’s character was a romantic who had his heartbroken by Summer, a girl who simply led him on. What both films have in common is that the story is from the boy’s perspective.
What does Bindu want? It’s not something the filmmakers thought was important enough to show. Meanwhile, what draws Abhimanyu to Bindu’s perfect hair, perfect make-up, and okay-ish voice is achingly easy to explain.
Meri Pyaari Bindu has a some redemptive moments, in terms of its humour and acting. Ayushmann Khurrana is terrific and visibly comfortable in his role. It’s hard to believe his Bengali, but he tries. He’s the mature version of a chocolate boy; haplessly in love yet grounded enough to not spiral out of control.
Parineeti Chopra’s Bindu is incomprehensible most of the time, and unnecessarily complicated overall. She tries, but not spectacularly. She’s at best in her emotional scenes, as the quiet and subtle Bindu, than the loud and brash troublemaker. Parineeti expresses each vulnerable moment in Bindu’s story well. But there isn’t much of that, sadly.
The other characters, especially that of Abhimanyu’s Bengali parents (played by Aparajita Auddy and Rajatabha Dutta) are brilliant. It’s a delight to watch them fuss over their lovestruck son. They ensure that while the story might be flat, the acting and humour gives us plenty to enjoy.
Meri Pyaari Bindu could have been more engaging if we knew what went through Bindu’s mind each time she ran as far as she possibly could. Not just as someone who needs to be deciphered.
At least debutant director Akshay Roy doesn’t pander to the saccharine sweet “And they lived happily ever after” way of storytelling. And actors who are not just conventionally good-looking but can also act well. Even if it’s for a deliberately complicated story.
The Meri Pyaari Bindu review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.