Mr. & Mrs. Mahi

wogma rating: Add to 'must watch' list (?)

quick review:

The grey characters, the man-woman equation, the light yet philosophical touches make it a good watch. Wish it didn’t try so hard in the beginning and didn’t rush so badly to the climax.

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Director: Sharan Sharma
Running time: 135 minutes
More Movie Info

There are a lot many things going for Mr and Mrs Mahi, the film. A few are alright, no great shakes. Only two things against it—the way it starts and how it ends. The relationships, the philosophy, and the characters give you something to munch on. The story is sweet and has its adorable moments. Those are more than enough to make the film a winner. At the same time, what they haven’t gotten right is too out there to ignore completely.

The various philosophical touches felt like the thoughts that run through one’s mind as they go about the business of living this thing called life.

Mr and Mrs Mahi begins clumsily. The real issue with the beginning is the effort expended in putting the protagonist down. The even bigger problem is that the effort shows. To the extent that within the first ten minutes, if not five, my mind was screaming, “ok-ok, I get it, this character has a sorry life! Move on, already!” To the extent that my mind began to threaten the makers, “If you are showing abc, you better show xyz too to back it up.” And show, they do, xyz and more.

That the lack of empathy is intentional came as a surprise to me. You aren’t meant to root for that character. That set-up in the first 5-10 minutes doesn’t make you question their actions through the rest of the film. A pretty consistently written character, if there was one. The @7$340!3 in them stays through most of the film. They remain the sulker they started as. This consistency turned the film for me, even if I wish it was done better as a whole.

To be fair, it didn’t help that story-wise, I knew whatever was going to happen in the film up until the intermission from reading a two-line synopsis. I really wish I hadn’t. All I wanted to know was if it was based on the cricket star Dhoni’s life; it isn’t. People who have watched the trailer would know even more. If you have, there is very little in the first half to engage other than the newlywed’s awkwardness.

Yes, Mr and Mrs Mahi, the reel-couple, start clumsily too. A charming clumsiness though. One that warms you up to their relationship, even if you didn’t care for either of them individually. They make you believe they are attracted to each other. As they win each other’s hearts because of their love for cricket they won mine because the first match they watch together is a test match instead of the shorter formats! Of course, I did a quick bias check at this point.

And for this, you have to hand it to the actors. Both Rajkummar Rao and Janhvi Kapoor have you lapping up their simplicity, their frustration, their conviction or lack thereof, off their palms. Both of them want me to watch their next film because of the characters they choose to play—the character’s complexity made to look simple; simple characters peeling off one layer after another—because which human is truly simple? This is also true of the character artists, Mr Mahi’s mother played by Zarina Wahab more than the rest. Though they, that is Kumud Mishra and Rajesh Sharma make you believe in their borderline caricature characters too.

The overall story too moves from one conflict to another, not letting you settle down once it has roped you in. As if you can sense the comfort and ease that the writers have found in their craft. They smoothly weave a story where you don’t question how one incident follows the other, one scene the other.

This consistency in characters turned the film for me, even if I wish it was done better as a whole.

Until, of course, the end which makes you feel like there was no patience left for being creative with a run-of-the-mill sports-movie climax. However, they do try to give a nice spin to the all-important final inspirational speech right before the most important match of the…film. But, that is not enough to let go of the quick transitions in characters. It’s sad because it did feel like the makers had it in them to work on making it more fluid.

But I am willing to let it go. Because it does a good job with a solid hour and a half in between. It’s been a while since a film touched upon so many philosophical issues without it feeling like a clutter-dump of the makers’ thoughts. It felt like the many thoughts that run through your mind as you go about the business of living this thing called life.

Don’t you wonder about our need as a people for “star”s, a messiah, someone to put on a pedestal? This also highlights how some people are behind-the-scene people and love it there while the limelight is all-important to others. The film is an ode to coaches and mothers, even if it creates sorry figures out of them. That one line about the mother could have been done so much better by these writers. I say that with confidence because of lines throughout the film that invoke intended emotions. For example, the sledging during the matches.

Within that theme is also another large theme—and from the trailer looks like the main theme—that of parents’ dreams or lack thereof being shoved down their children’s throats. Both the lead characters have some serious daddy issues. How do they deal with them? What gives them strength? The answer to that also made me ruminate over what attracts one person to another. The crisp commentary on how we set moving goalposts for ourselves is slightly out-of-place but still went with the flow because of the larger context it was set in—between a mother and her child.

Yes, it wouldn’t be too off-target to say that Mr and Mrs Mahi’s women are at the center of the film. But you cannot deny that the woman is tossed from one man’s aspirations to another’s. And that the woman needed the man to make her and break her. Yeah-yeah, we all need someone to make and break us. But, this seemed more than just that.

Other than that, Mr and Mrs Mahi doesn’t have state-of-the-art production values. The training montage is generic, the sports shots are too. Maybe because in the makers' minds and hearts, it is not a sports film.

It is a film about two people and how they grow together. Towards their goals, against family and societal norms. Not in a selfless, romantic way. In a complex but one-thing-makes-way-for-another way. The combination makes Mr and Mrs Mahi worth at least one replay.

- meeta, a part of the audience

26 reviewers(?) - 4 yays 13 so-so 9 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, by Subhash K Jha, Bolly Spice : ...Good actors don’t need a wide platform to prove their mettle.The same goes for stories that connect with us not for their larger-than-life design, but for their proclivity to peep into life’s harshest truths without getting overly grim in tone.... full review

Thumbs up, : ...Beautiful Cinematography: The film is visually stunning, with beautiful cinematography that brings both the cricket matches and emotional moments to life. The attention to detail in the visual storytelling is commendable.... full review

Thumbs up, by Sukanya Verma, Rediff : ...Mr & Mrs Mahi doesn't really dwell into the politics of patriarchy but stops to note the difference between control and support shows in intent.... full review

Thumbs up, by Dhaval Roy, Times of India : ...Mr & Mrs Mahi also celebrates the unsung heroes – the coaches, the spouses – who stand silently behind those who achieve glory. Ultimately, the film beautifully depicts the idea that true victory lies in finding fulfillment within yourself, not in the eyes of others. This tale with a heart is for everyone, and you will come out learning valuable lessons.... full review

So-So, by Nikita Thakkar, Bollywood Life : ...Mr and Mrs Mahi is a feel-good film that speaks more of emotions than the sports. Thus, BollywoodLife would like to give it 3 stars for the efforts made.... full review

So-So, by L Ravichander, Deccan Chronicle : ...While the likes of Zarina and Rajesh Sharma deliver what little is asked of them, it is a delight to watch Kumud Mishra who never disappoints. Janhvi does — that is if you had expectations in the first place. She is working on her skill sets, but the speed is visibly inadequate. Rajkumaar Rao is predictably brilliant, like with ‘Srinath’, in the earlier scenes he looks a tad too old to carry off the youngster. However, as the frustrated individual aching for success, he is brilliant. ‘Mr. and Mrs. Mahi’ is worth seeing only for Rajkumaar Rao and Kumud Mishra.... full review

So-So, by Neha Sen, Deccan Herald : ...The actual message of the story gets lost in the multiple meandering conflicts and the many cricket idioms. The parents remain unidimensional, and only Rajesh Sharma as the coach shows occasional depth. The dialogues often teeter on the edge of being didactic, but is it really a Dharma production without its dose of preachy one-liners about family and love.... full review

So-So, by Lachmi Deb Roy, FirstPost : ...actors like Rajkummar Rao, Janhvi Kapoor or Kumud Mishra were unable to live up to the expectations of the audiences. It’s not that they didn’t try, but sadly it faltered in many places, unable to bring out the right emotions and the depth that the characters demanded. The pace of Mr. & Mrs. Mahi is inconsistent and the film failed to bring about that excitement which a movie on cricket does.... full review

So-So, by Manjusha Radhakrishnan, Gulf News : ...As far as performances go, all the key players are in good form. Rajesh Sharma as Mahendra’s brutal coach, who tells him that he doesn’t have the pedigree and skill to be a professional athlete, is an interesting specimen. Rao shines in the dramatic scenes and Kapoor is on a strong wicket too. While the conflict of a jealous husband is staid and familiar, Rao makes it engaging through his acting prowess alone. For a one-time watch, this movie is serviceable. It may not be as exciting as an IPL final match, but it has its good moments that make it worth our time.... full review

So-So, by Monika Rawal Kukreja, Hindustan Times : ...Mr and Mrs Mahi is a one-time watch for its earnest performances, but the film is devoid of a superlative script or wow moments. It's an ambitious sports film that tries to make a point, but sadly misses the shot. I wish at least in the title, Mrs came before Mr and we could have then celebrated women in cricket a little more.... full review

So-So, by Sana Farzeen, india today : ...To wrap up, while 'Mr and Mrs Mahi' might have seemed promising on paper, the final product fails to strike the right chord. The team's earnest efforts are evident, but the film falls short of creating a lasting impact.... full review

So-So, by Pooja Darade, koimoi : ...Overall, “Mr & Mrs Mahi” intends to tell an inspiring story about a couple helping each other achieve their dreams. The narrative is filled with hurdles, reflecting the challenges in their journey. Rajkummar Rao and Janhvi Kapoor’s love story has moments where you can’t help but smile at how adorable they look together on screen.... full review

So-So, by Dishya Sharma, : ...Bottom Line: Mr & Mrs Mahi is not a bad film but it isn’t a great film either. Consider it was marketed as a sports-themed film, the film needed a few high moments of a sports drama to truly allow viewers to resonate with the characters and their struggles. I would recommend watching Mr & Mrs Mahi for the performances, music and cinematography.... full review

So-So, by Nandini Ramnath, : ...Like the tail-end batsman who walks into disarray and sets the scoreboard right, Rao overshadows his co-star and the rest of the cast without ever trying to. Rao is especially memorable when Mahendra is at his most desperate, grasping for a shot at fame that will never be his.... full review

So-So, by Pratikshya Mishra, The Quint : ...Mr & Mrs Mahi is a film that leaves you speechless because it doesn’t give you much to talk about.... full review

So-So, by Simran Khan, Times Now : ...Mr and Mrs Mahi is supposed to be about the "imperfectly perfect partnership" between Rao and Kapoor's characters. However, it falls short of perfect. The film suffers from serious pacing issues and only picks up when it's almost too late. Makers should consider themselves lucky if the audiences fight their yawns till then. Fortunately for them, it is the soundtrack that keeps pulling their eyes to the screen after dull moments. A few chuckle-evoking jokes here and there add some warmth to this flawed film, but overall, Rajkummar Rao and Janhvi Kapoor's sixes lack impact.... full review

So-So, Zee News : ...The camera work and the music are effectively and quite satisfactorily executed to suit a film of this genre. What comes as a surprise is why Dharma Productions would make such an unexceptional and average film!... full review

Thumbs down, by Abhimanyu Mathur, DNA : ...Mr & Mrs Mahi may connect with the audience in the end. It is a film that knows how to present its emotionally high moments. It presents a simple story rather aesthetically too, and touches upon some nice points about self awareness, knowing one’s ceiling, and most importantly, what makes one happy in life. It is a good film but could have been so much better.... full review

Thumbs down, by Murtuza Iqbal, Filmi Beat : ...Mr & Mrs Mahi Music Well, none of the songs have the element to become a chartbuster. Dekhha Tenu does leave a mark when it comes on the big screens. Mr And Mrs Mahi Review Final Verdict Overall, Mr & Mrs Mahi is simply a boring, predictable film offering nothing new. It is like watching the cricket version of Abhimaan. So, you can surely skip it.... full review

Thumbs down, by Rohit Bhatnagar, Free Press Journal : ...Mr & Mrs Mahi is a big let down. Avoid even if you want to get away with the hangover of IPL.... full review

Thumbs down, by Sakshi Verma, India TV : ...Mr and Mrs Mahi is a slow film with a very predictable plot. Rajkummar had more chemistry with Janhvi in Roohi when she played a possessed girl than in this film. Some instances in the film make you believe that the characters are not even on the same page. Sharan Sharma's second film can also remind you of several Star Plus and Zee TV's daily soaps. With no impactful music and nothing to take by, the film feels bland, boring and joyless... full review

Thumbs down, by Uday Bhatia, Live Mint : ...Mr and Mrs Mahi remains a watchable film despite all the narrative shortcuts and a tendency to spell things out is in large part due to Rao and Kapoor. Whoever thought of pairing the two had a good hunch; there's a believable, fond quality to their scenes together. Still, I'm hoping for a strategic time out of my own, a few years if possible, from Hindi cricket films.... full review

Thumbs down, by Sameer Ahire, Movie Talkies : ...Mr. & Mrs. Mahi could have either been a good film or a bad film, and both because of director Sharan Sharma. He chose the latter one, sadly. The film could have done so many things so much better and so differently, but all Sharan had to do was go and pick some old dramatic segments and drag the film with them.... full review

Thumbs down, by Prateek Sur, Outlook India : ...Janhvi Kapoor does get the physicality right as you can see that she did train a lot to get the cricketing shots perfectly, but still that hunger of a cricketer seemed to be missing. You can see women cricketers in today’s times and you would know that their body language is much more studier than what Janhvi Kapoor brings to the table with ‘Mr. & Mrs. Mahi’. It felt like she was just there and doing everything that the director was saying perfectly, but not putting in that adrenaline rush from her end to make the character come out with flying colours. The girl who did so well in ‘Mili’ is somewhere crying deep inside looking at this film.... full review

Thumbs down, by Shilajit Mitra, The Hindu : ...The cricketing action in Mr. and Mrs. Mahi is nearly as forgettable as the combat sequences in Gunjan Saxena (2020). Kapoor, nine films old, struggles to access the requisite ease in performance, both on and off the pitch. Rao effectively sells the frustration and peevishness of a dunce like Mahendra. He is skilled with character psychology; as a romantic lead, however, he casts less of a spell. He soldiers on regardless, out there in the stands, trying to imbue some plausibility and heart into this ho-hum tale. He’s playing a one-man inning, and he knows it.... full review

Thumbs down, by Kartik Bhardwaj, the new Indian Express : ...Mr. & Mrs. Mahi, at most, is a shake-up to the tired genre of sports films in Hindi cinema. It is not exactly a patriotic story or a feminist tale. What it’s trying to tell is that fame is fickle but passion stays. That real joy comes from the act of doing something and not being applauded for it. That while telling a story of an insecure, devious man, makers still can’t afford to punish him too much. That women still need to be told by men to find their calling. That mothers know everything. That there is far too much to tell but nothing to convey.... full review

Twitter reviews for this movie are not available.

1 readers - 0 yays 1 so-so 0 nays

So-So, by Raj

This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: A slap. No other physical violence. Though there is mental torment to some extent.
  • Language: Clean.
  • Nudity & Sexual content: None.
  • Concept: A couple finding their place in the world.
  • General Look and Feel: Functional set in an Indian city.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

Lead Actors:
Character Artists:
Music Director:

Comments (1)

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Dear Meetu, I like the indepth philosophical bend of questioning of societal norms in all your reviews. Please continue. Did it slightly remind you of "Abhimaan" plot? And could not dissect this @7$340!3 in your review?

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