Laila Majnu Review: How the Interminable Wait for Love Descends into Madness

Bollywood

Laila Majnu Review: How the Interminable Wait for Love Descends into Madness

Illustration: Arati Gujar

D

ebutant filmmaker Sajid Ali’s Laila Majnu, a modern retelling of the Persian classic, can easily end up being 2018’s most conflicting piece of cinema: For most of its 139-minute runtime, it begs to be dismissed until it suddenly churns out one of the most affecting moments seen in a film this year.

The film boasts of the standard Imtiaz Ali (producer and co-writer of the screenplay) tropes: A manic-pixie dream girl, whose free-spiritedness is misrepresented. If in Jab Harry Met Sejal, it manifested in Sejal wanting to achieve an aspirational level of fuckability, then in Laila Majnu, it’s insinuated that Laila (Tripti Dimri) invites stalkers and derives a secret pleasure from being stalked. It has wistful love ballads that tenderly dissect the agony of love and mines much of its drama from its Instagrammable setting. And it has a lead, Qais (a stellar Avinash Tiwary) who is at peace only when he is running away.

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