Despite the formulaic plot, the Aanand L Rai directorial holds promise for the talent it possesses.
By Mayur Lookhar
Once the bread and butter of Hindi cinema, cliched romantic dramas don’t come by, nor do they succeed by the dozen anymore. It’s not the archetypal storylines per se, but the fault lies with those filmmakers for not telling these stories in a refreshing way. Writer Himanshu Sharma and director-producer Aanand L Rai have reaped some success with their romantic dilemma dramas Raanjhnaa [, and the Tanu Weds Manu franchise. They resort to a familiar dilemma drama with their latest offering Atrangi Re .
For the second time running, Rai has a super star at his disposal with Akshay Kumar collaborating with the popular filmmaker for the first time. But he ain’t at the center of this story. It is Sara Ali Khan who gets to be Himanshu Sharma’s feisty Tanuja-like character in Atrangi Re. [Kangana Ranaut reaped success playing Tanuja and Kusmum in the Tanu Weds Manu franchise]
Set in another north India milieu, Rinku Sooryavanshi [Sare Ali Khan] is married off against her wishes. But the groom is not chosen but is randomly kidnapped by her father’s goons. Vishnu [Dhanush] turns out to be a boy from Tamil Nadu. Forcibly married off, the duo strike a deal that they will go their own ways once in Delhi and far away from the hostile environment back home. The twist here comes in the form of Sajjad [Akshay Kumar] who returns to take away his girl friend Rinku.
Pause there for a moment. Yes, it is Akshay Kumar possibly playing another Muslim character. By now the super star will be least concerned with the unfortunate, needless ‘love jihad’ criticism that he endured during Laxmii . He should ignore any such pointless trolling if it arises due to this film.
Though named Sajjad, but Akshay Kumar’s character comes across as a man soaked in Mathura culture. He appears an entertainer from the circus. Sajjad wants to take back Rinku, but through the course of the few days spent together, the Tamil boy seems to have developed feelings for the lady. Yet again, a classic love triangle conundrum.
On the face of it, it would be to simple to pass this off as another ‘old wine in a new bottle] story but the film holds promise for the talent at its disposal. Dhanush finds himself in a Colour Yellow Production again. His presence is justified by the sarcastic dialogue from Rinku’s father that how come across whole of India you [hired goons] got only this fellow.
Though such plotlines are often the fantasy of escapists, but the woke feminists would appreciate Rinku saying, “What would go wrong if for once a woman gets both [men]?”. We hope the sanskari, devout males across all faiths don’t perceive it as going against any dogma.
Based on the trailer, it appears that Sara has worked a bit on getting the appropriate accent. The Sara-Dhanush pairing is pleasantly refreshing. Not intimidating but Sara has this natural mischievous streak in her , as seen before in Kedarnath , Simmba  and Love Aaj Kal . After showing initial promise with Kedarnath , Saif Ali Khan’s daughter has been found wanting in her subsequent films. The girl would hope that being an atrangi [weirdo] would help her to turn the tide in her favour.
Going by the trailer, the fate of the film will depend a lot on the show by Dhanush. A star down South, Dhanush developed a pan India following with the Kolaveri DI song and later Raanjhnaa  first. While the predictable saga will end either one way or the other, but Dhanush fans would hope for a riveting and also an emotional performance from him.
The length of Akshay Kumar’s role will only be known once the film releases, but the super star has never been known to hog excess limelight. It has a sense of deja vu, but Atrangi Re’s fortunes will bank on the quality of its humour, and the performance of its abled cast.
Atrangi Re  is set to be released on 24 December on Disney+ Hotstar. Watch the trailer below.