Movie Review: Shimla Mirchi

Cinegoers and trade experts were surprised when the trailer of the film SHIMLA MIRCHI dropped on the internet on December 26, 2019 without any intimation. The film, directed by SHOLAY director Ramesh Sippy is a long delayed romcom that is releasing five years after its making. Ramesh Sippy made the film in 2014 and it was meant to be a small and sweet romantic story set in Shimla. It is yet unclear as to why the film was delayed. However, the film which was made on a small budget is now set to release in theatres on January 3.

Without giving any spoilers, the film is about Avi (Rajkummar Rao) who visits Shimla during his holiday and falls in love with Naina (Rakul Preet Singh). Avi takes up a job in the hills to act on his love for Naina. However, his only weakness is that he is never able to confess his feelings for the woman he loves. Avi, on the advice of his friend writes a love letter, which lands in the hand of Naina’s mother Rukmani (Hema Malini). Rukmani is a woman who is struggling from low self-esteem after her husband left her for another woman and comes to the conclusion that Avi is her secret admirer. Naina who is aware of the situation plays up to this to keep her mother sane.

Talking about the film, there are no surprises when it comes to the script of SHIMLA MIRCHI. However, the script (Ramesh Sippy, Kausar Munir, Rishi Virmani and Vipul Binjola) is tight and comes straight to the point. What stands out the most, and lights up the film are the characters and dialogues in the otherwise tried and tested genre. The dialogues are good and play a huge part in keeping the audience engaged. The stark commentary on the love life of the lead actors is sure to generate some laughs. The film marks Ramesh Sippy's return to direction after a long time — while he returned to direction after 20 years, he will see his directorial venture release only after 25 years. Ramesh Sippy focuses completely on the central characters and does not care to indulge much into the external environment of these characters. Sippy has a great hold over the plot and at no point does he deviate from the central topic.

Coming to the performances, at the time of filming, Rajkummar Rao was fairly new to the industry and has still managed to win our hearts with his performance. Those unaware of Rakul Preet Singh’s work down south will be in for a treat to watch Rakul as the beautiful small town girl who has a thousand responsibilities to attend to. However, her constant need to take charge over her mother's life under the garb of care might get to your nerves. She does come across over the top at times because of her energy but when she shares screen with the calm natured Rajkummar Rao, it balances out well. Hema Malini is at the top of her game and puts life into the film with her infectious and vibrant screen presence. Shakti Kapoor as Captain Uncle does a great job. Though not much is revealed about his character, he will be remembered for his situational poetry.

The music by Meet Bros Anjjan sets the tone for a small town romance. The lyrics penned by Kumaar beautifully capture the mood of the film. This is also the last collaboration by Meet Bros Anjjan who are behind successful songs like ‘Chittiyan Kalaiyyan’ and ‘Baby Doll’.

The film is largely set in the backdrop of a house and a cafe. Cinematographer Jitan Harmeet Singh gives this romantic journey a dreamy affect by capturing the moods of the characters with close-ups. The editing (Vijay Venkataramanan) is very crisp except for the climax, where the audience could easily do with one less song.

On the whole, SHIMLA MIRCHI makes for a decent small town romance with impressive performances. At the box office, the low buzz and lack of promotions will ensure that the movie will fizzle out eventually.