Like a million other girls in this country, I always thought I was desi. And having been friends with people who listened to jazz music and followed American pop culture faster than I could wrap my brains around it for most of my life, I had come to accept the fact that I fell in the other category. The category of people who couldn’t help but groove to Jhumma Chumma De De and possessed a romantic sense of nostalgia for the 80s Bollywood music, despite never actually having lived it. In reality, I’d been introduced to such music because of my parents – father, to be precise. In fact, I didn’t even realise I liked that stuff till I found myself dancing to it on a lone Sunday afternoon in the company of my compensatory hostel room aesthetic. So for someone like me, who has always bought the dreams sold to the public by the Hindi film industry, enjoying Meri Pyaari Bindu is kind of a given. I knew I would like it the minute I saw the trailer and I wasn’t wrong.
Meri Pyaari Bindu is a classic Bollywood-Yash-Raj love story with bits that are a little extra but fit just right. A perfect mixture of meet cutes and reality, along with vintage elements (typewriter, mix tapes, climbing a tree to meet a girl etc.) and some really loud Bengali humour thrown in to suit Mr. Heartbreak Writer, Abhimanyu Roy’s character played by Ayushmann Khurrana (who is obviously going to find her inspiration in a Bindu).
Parineeti Chopra’s Manic Pixie Dream Girl character, Bindu, takes over most of the screen time. You see a girl who contradicts the ‘caged bird’ stereotype our country suddenly seems to despise; one represented quite artistically by Abhimanyu (he’s also a BTech-then-MBA stereotype, by the way). Needless to say, throughout the film Bindu continues to criticise his career choice. However, the entire time, Abhimanyu has adopted Bindu’s dream of being a singer and regularly waters it to ensure its life.
Parineeti wants to realise her dream of being a singer, while Abhimanyu wants to realise his dream of being with Bindu. Quite convenient, isn’t it? In fact, if the film was not playing in episodic flashbacks, you wouldn’t actually think there’s much to it. (because there isn’t. Not in the first half at least.)
Although a little annoyed at what was going on between the two, I could still understand the fact that such people and/or relationships exist. They’re unhealthy, a truth that will never be accepted by our cinema, and end up hurting at least one person, if not both (an observation pointed out by Bindu’s father towards the end of the film). So when I walked out of the hall to get myself a cookie, I did not, for one second, anticipate what I was going to experience in the next half.
So I come back feeling like an enthu cutlet on the lose but things just started spiralling downwards way too soon.
Warning: Spoilers ahead
After having parted ways, Bindu and Abhimanyu are reunited by fate, but mostly by the latter’s determination and unrequited love. To give the audience what they’re here for: a happy ending to the happy meet-cute. The two best friends finally get together and suddenly life is hunky dory till they have to part ways again because, obviously, IT guy and a free bird can’t gel together – that is the crux of their relationship’s personality. Apart from Bindu’s “need to find herself”, there’s also a sense of entitlement in Abhimanyu’s expectations from his girlfriend. This is when Boring IT guy turns into Heartbreak Writer boy who writes weirdly erotic, horror stories. I couldn’t figure out for sure if he wrote in English or in Hindi.
So they’re no longer together and I am dying on the inside because they’ve been really cute since the beginning. Except they haven’t. They’ve just been dancing to the right songs and living the 80s nostalgia which is enough to impress the Indian audience, including me.
The climax is bittersweet, consisting of really long shots of both the protagonists longingly gazing at each other with fondness is their eyes, a lot of rain, a family get together, and a Bindu (who until now has lived the life of a free bird wearing only western clothes and really fancy shoes) clad in a sari that is very reminiscent of the 80s. She is a mother now and proudly proclaims the fact that “she finally found what she was good at” because obviously women need to realise that no matter what they try to achieve in life, they will come to realise that a being a mother is what they’re good at. Heartbreak Writer boy, on the other hand, finally writes a love story, instead of a horror one, and finds the closure he supposedly deserved in return for braving rejection from his one true love.