Film Review: Meenakshi Sundareshwar

Film Review: Meenakshi Sundareshwar

Starring: Sanya Malhotra, Abhimanyu Dassani, Sukesh Arora, Shivkumar Subramaniam, Khuman Nongyai, Karan Johar

Director: Vivek Soni

Bollywood stories set around the concept of arranged marriage and its many changing forms in modern India have proved popular over the years. To add to this long list comes along ‘Meenakshi Sundareshwar’, the newest Netflix offering from India.

Meenakshi (Malhotra) is a die-hard fan of Tamil superstar Rajnikanth and harbours the dream of her future husband sharing in this passion. However, during an accidental arranged marriage encounter with Sundareshwar a.k.a. Sundar (Dassani) she finds that her prospective groom ticks all her boxes except for one small glitch – he is not only not a Rajnikanth fan but finds films themselves more soporific than entertaining.

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With Meenakshi’s grandfather’s (Subramaniam) small nudge at the fact that Meenakshi Sundareshwar together form the name of one of India’s most famous temples in Madurai, the divine intervention of the match sweeps both families towards wedding bells. The newly-weds begin their married life with many dreams of romantic dates and journeys, only to be cut short by Sundar’s new job forcing them into a long-distance relationship. Balancing the demands of a workaholic boss (Arora) and fun-loving colleagues, Sundar tries every trick in the book to keep the romance alive while miles apart from his new bride in Madurai and his new IT coding job in Bangalore. Will their marriage survive the strains of this distant romance, or will misunderstandings and time apart prove unsurmountable?

Vivek Soni’s take on a modern-day arranged marriage in a traditional Indian city is refreshing and heart-warming. The story unfolds at a leisurely pace, offering many enjoyable moments as the couple that seem destined to be together struggle, to find their rhythm – within a large joint family set-up for the new bride and a cut-throat competitive IT world for the groom.

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The backdrop of Rajnikanth and his god-like persona in Tamil Nadu is well meant but somehow fails to be well intertwined within the script. In fact, that is the one aspect lacking from the script – a tautness to tie in different thoughts and ideas. The result is a story that seems to flounder as it heads towards an expected climax.

But that said, Malhotra as the feisty and friendly new bride and Dassani as the socially awkward young graduate carry the load of being Meenakshi Sundareshwar of the title well. Thereby, bringing enough warmth to make this a worthy addition to a light-hearted online watch-list.

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