India has a long history of story telling. It is told that, years back a huge book was written by Gunadhya, called Brihat Katha, which was a collection of all folk tales transferred orally from generations till then As it was written in Paisachi dialect and not in Sanskrit, it never won recognition. Heartbroken author burned the whole book, but a small portion survived called Katha Sarith Sagara, from which most of the ancient Indian folk stories, Panchatantra, Jataka tales, Adventures of Vikramaditya and Madana Kamaraja were derived. The curious factor about these stories was the format in which they were told. A basic plot connects the whole thing and many stories are interwoven according to situation. It is not uncommon to have layers on layers of exotic stories woven together so intricately that it can give any contemporary magical realistic post modern novel an inferiority complex.
The movie that I watched today, Mirch, uses a similar pattern to unveil itself. I remember the movies like, Suraj Ka Sathwan Ghoda, about a man's relationships with three women in different stages of his life (Tamil movie Autograph too has a similar theme.), Lajja, again about the plight of women in various situations, Sau Jhooth Ek Sach, where Mammotty investigates a murder from different view points of family members, Malayalam movie Kerala Cafe, where all stories end in the coffee shop of a railway station platform, and Darna Mana Hai, a horror episodical movie.
Mirch is a movie about adultery, but what makes it unique, other than the episodic narration is that, it is not dark, as the movies of this genre tends to be, and also it says them from a feminine point of view.Many movies are made on escapades of men, and few ones where a married woman involves in an affair, she is crucified and labeled immoral in the end. Here in all the stories women takes the upper hand and when caught red handed by husbands uses their wit and smartness to escape scott free. Labeling this movie as a comedy may not be right, but the stories are certainly humorous.
Manav (Arunoday Singh), is an aspirant director who with his girl friend Ruchi (Shahana Goswami0 is trying to persuade producer Nitin (Sushant Singh) to make a movie on his script. Nitin, who wants a saleable movie dislikes the script terming it too dark and without romance. (The dialogues at this part is quite funny.) Manav don't want to compromise, but later decides to script a story based on sex, because "sex always sells" according to Nitin. The story he comes up with is from Panchatantra, about a carpenter (Rajpal Yadav) and his cheating wife (Raima Sen). The humor in the story with a very twisty ending amuses Nitin but he wants more. MAnav decides to make a movie with four stories and for the second one chooses one from Boccachio's DeCameron and adapts it Indian. An old Raja (a very hilarious Prem Chopra) has a young wife (Konkana), who dots his servent Prithvi (Arunoday again). Servent demands three wishes to have a union with her and story is how the Princess manages to pull them off.
Next two stories are set in modern times, one about a man (Shreyas) planning to check the fidelity of his wife (Raima again) and gets bowled over by his own method. The last one is how an elderly business man (Boman) falls into his own trap when he lies to his wiife (Konkana) and tries to get some doodh from bazaar. How these stories impact the protagonists life is what makes the connecting thread. Out of the five, the connecting story is the weakest of all. The climax is as if the director tried to force the point of the movie into the throat of any viewer who did not get the point till then, which makes it a bit preachy. And the fourth one is also a bit lame in comparison to others, may be because it was an original one and others are acclaimed folk stories. But Boman Irani makes up for it by his over the top, but much believable histrionics.
All actors have done commendable work, but Arunoday towers above all, not only due to his height, but by demonstrating his flexibility as an actor in five different roles. (He appears in all stories at least for a bit part.) Others also has given a great support and special mention to be given to Ila Arun, unbelievable! The movie is quite well made and music compliments the narration aptly. If the climax was shown with same restraint and wit, without the melodrama, like the other four stories, Mirch would have been a whole different movie. (And do not expect a commercial pot boiler while watching this one. It appears similar to unbearable cinematic gems like Hawas, Julie, Intehaa, but it is not.)