MILAN TALKIES | 16 March, 2019

Torque and Filmy Keeda Productions Pvt. Ltd.’s Milan Talkies (UA) is a love story.

Annu (Ali Fazal) is an aspiring director in Allahabad. He makes short films funded by means fair and unfair. He helps Maithali Panda (Sraddha Srinath) pass her examinations – for a fee, of course. It is imperative for Maithali to clear her examinations because her fiancé is an educated man. However, in the process, Annu and Maithali grow fond of each other and often meet at Milan Talkies because of the ever-helpful projectionist, Usmanbhai (Sanjay Mishra). The two ultimately elope, only to be caught by Maithali’s family. In the fight that ensues, Annu falls into the river and goes missing.

Maithali’s marriage is called off by the groom’s side as news about her elopement has spread. She is then married off by her father, Janardhan Panda (Ashutosh Rana), to Guru (Sikandar Kher) who is impotent.

Some years elapse. Annu resurfaces and he returns to Allahabad to cast for his maiden feature film. Maithali goes to meet him, slaps him and returns. Having been unable to forget him through the years, Maithali tries once again to meet him on the sets of his film, shooting of which is in progress in the city. But Annu somehow can’t meet her, resulting in Maithali feeling agitated. However, her anger is short-lived because Annu indirectly apologises to her through a press interview. Meanwhile, Annu has returned to Bombay.

A few months later, Annu’s film is released, among others, at Milan Talkies in Allahabad. Maithali goes to watch the film and is shocked to see Annu and her story unfold in the film. Taking a cue from that, she concludes that Annu would return after two days to fetch her. She is unwilling to return to her home as she fears her drunkard and abusive husband, Guru.

Does Annu return to Allahabad? Do Annu and Maithali unite?

Tigmanshu Dhulia and Kamal Pandey’s story is routine and smacks of clichés. Their screenplay is so contrived that one realises quite early on that anything can happen anytime anywhere. Why Maithali slaps Annu when he returns to Allahabad to cast local actors for his film is not explained. After all, her family had played the proverbial stumbling block in her elopement with Annu, so how can she blame Annu for the same? The various attempts for Annu and Maithali to clear the air invariably fail – just so that the drama can be prolonged. In other words, nothing in the screenplay appears to be seamless, almost everything seems contrived.

Although it is a love story, the romance is far from heartwarming. Comedy and emotions are conspicuous by their absence.

The duo’s dialogues are routine.

Ali Fazal is okay as Annu. Sraddha Srinath is average in the role of Maithali Panda. She looks so-so. Ashutosh Rana does a very good job as Maithali’s father, Janardhan Panda. Rajiv Gupta is good as Maithali’s maternal uncle, Hariharan Panda. Sikandar Kher is ordinary as Guru. Reecha Sinha lends good support as Maithali’s friend, Babli. Sanjay Mishra makes his presence felt as cinema projectionist Usmanbhai. Tigmanshu Dhulia (as Annu’s father), Deepraj Rana (as Kaptan Singh), Kanupriya Pandit (as Annu’s mother), Anjali Manchanda (as Maithali’s mother), Mohit Baghel (as Qurbaan), Ajitesh Gupta (as Mayank), Prashant Kumar (as Fattu), Pankaj Saraswat (as the college professor), and the rest provide ordinary support.

Tigmanshu Dhulia’s direction is weak. Music (by Rana Mazumdar and Akriti Kakkar) is lively. Lyrics (Amitabh Bhattacharya and Akriti Kakkar) are alright. Vijay Ganguly’s choreography is ordinary. Background music (by Dharma Vish) is functional. Hari Vedantam’s camerawork is okay. Nishant Khan’s action and stunt scenes are average. Dhananjoy Mondal’s production designing and Balram Sarkar’s art direction are so-so. Pravin Angre’s editing leaves something to be desired.

On the whole, Milan Talkies is so routine and devoid of entertainment that it will go largely unnoticed at the box-office.

Released on 15-3-’19 at Inox Metro (daily 1 show) and other cinemas of Bombay thru One Leaf Entertainment. Publicity & opening: dull. …….Also released all over. Opening was weak everywhere.