Especially those with a note that purrs: “Mumbai is the protagonist”. The gaze tends to be a little irrational – like a survivor choosing to vindicate an abusive relationship. The place becomes a narrative concept rather than a lived-in reality.
Vijay Maurya’s Mast Mein Rehne Ka is a bittersweet companion piece. It’s a well-worded resignation letter disguised as a love letter. A feel-bad comedy if you will, where characters look for solace in the art of survival.
Another way of processing the Bollywood hangover of these characters is to look at them as manifestations of the city’s relationship with Bombay cinema. Are films inspired by the place, or does the place start to imitate the films it inspires? Where does reality end and fiction begin?
The infectious energy of Mast Mein Rehna Ka extends to its performances. Both the younger actors – Abhishek Chauhan and Monica Panwar – transcend the formulaic nature of their characters.
The casting of Rakhi Sawant as a version of herself – a quintessential striver in a sea of posers – is a masterstroke. She fits into the Mumbai of this film perfectly, without being patronized or judged. Her idiosyncrasies are filmed with affection and admiration alike.
A man who is trying to conquer his fear of attachment in the twilight of his life. You can tell that his pride has been dismantled over the years, and all that’s left is a pensioner looking for a reason to keep going.