It's often said that cricket and Bollywood are two major passions of Indians. Director Chandrakant Kulkarni's MEERABAI NOT OUT narrates the story of a cricket enthusiast who goes to the extremes -- even on the day of her engagement -- to watch a game of cricket.
But interesting ideas don't necessarily translate into interesting films. MEERABAI NOT OUT suffers because there's not much meat in its script. It's only during the penultimate moments that things begin to move, but that isn't enough to salvage the situation.
Also, though the film talks of cricket, there's not much excitement for a cricket fanatic either. A sports-based theme works only if the viewer becomes involved in the proceedings, when he/she becomes a participant. In MEERABAI NOT OUT, you're just a mere spectator. This one's more of a love story, actually!
Meera [Mandira Bedi], a mathematics teacher, has been a happy single for quite a while now. The great love of her life has been, and will always remain, cricket and Anil Kumble. The problem that worries her family is Meera's still-single status.
Enter Arjun [Eijaz Khan]. Meera realizes that there's more to life than praying for Team India and Anil Kumble. So, while her heart beats for Anil Kumble and India's fortunes, the more important question is: Will Meera be able to commit to her non-striker beau?
MEERABAI NOT OUT may give an impression of being a 'cricket film', but it's misleading. It's primarily a love story. In fact, a major part of the screen time is devoted to the love story, which, frankly, lacks the fizz.
It's only towards the pre-climax, when the lady doesn't show up for her own engagement ceremony on time, that things start moving. Come to think of it, even that looks far-fetched, for no person in his/her senses would give priority to watch a match on the day of her engagement. And if she had to catch a match, she could've done so on her TV set. Why travel all the way to the stadium?
Despite the hiccups [read faulty writing], director Chandrakant Kulkarni has handled the penultimate sequences well. The cricket match in the end -- between Mahesh Manjrekar and Eijaz Khan -- is interesting. Also, the finale -- Anupam Kher participating in a quiz show and Mandira answering the question right -- is well-treated.
There's not much scope for music in the enterprise. The sole track that merits a mention is the one at the very start [the promotional track]. Dialogues are well-worded at places.
Mandira acts her part well. She impresses more towards the finale. Eijaz is confident and if given an opportunity, can only go further. Mahesh Manjrekar doesn't really get scope, except towards the finale. Anupam Kher is efficient. Pratiksha Lonkar is wasted. The actress enacting the role of Manjrekar and Mandira's mother is perfect. Anil Kumble is passable.
On the whole, MEERABAI NOT OUT is a below average fare. At the box-office, this maiden will be run-out in the initial days itself!