Merry Christmas Movie Review Rating:

Star Cast: Vijay Sethupathi, Katrina Kaif, Radhika Apte, Sanjay Kapoor, Vinay Pathak, Tinnnu Anand, Ranjan Raj, Aditi Govitrikar

Director: Sriram Raghavan

Merry Christmas Movie Review
Merry Christmas Movie Review Is Out! (Picture Credit: IMDb)

What’s Good: The kid in Vijay Sethupathi, Katrina Kaif matching the VS brilliance & Sriram Raghavan delivering back-to-back bangers like a boss

What’s Bad: People will compare this with Andhadhun; please don’t!

Loo Break: This won’t leave you even for a second!

Watch or Not?: This should be the first film you watch as soon as you finish this review

Language: Hindi

Available On: Theatrical release

Runtime: 2 hours 24 minutes


User Rating:

It’s Christmas evening in Mumbai (when it was called Bombay), Jingle Bell is played on a flute, a guy dressed as Santa is driving a Bajaj Chetak on the not-so-busy roads & two strangers are at a restaurant as one gets dumped by her date even before the arrival of the main course. Albert (Vijay Sethupathi) sees this and does whatever a ‘just-out-of-jail after seven years’ guy would do after watching a beautiful lady (with her daughter) getting ditched at the last moment; he follows them.

They’re not strangers anymore; Albert achieves what he wants, but little does he know that Maria (Katrina Kaif) wants the same thing more than him, but not in a romantic way. In an ‘I have a masterplan ready to put you in jail for the murder of my husband, which I may/may not have committed’ way. Albert somehow untangles himself from Maria’s Pandemonium only to invite more mess. How one night could change the course of your life is what the crux of the story is all about.

Merry Christmas Movie Review
Merry Christmas Movie Review Is Out! (Picture Credit: IMDb)

Merry Christmas Movie Review: Script Analysis

To quote Oscar Hammerstein II, “Some enchanted evening, you may see a stranger, you may see a stranger across a crowded room & somehow you know, you know even then that somewhere you’ll see her again and again!” This is exactly what Merry Christmas is… correction: this is exactly what ‘Bird In A Cage’ by Frédéric Dard is (a 1961 French novella) because Sriram Raghavan has taken the meat of that story only to marinate it with immaculate writing (by himself & Arijit Biswas, Pooja Ladha Surti and Anukriti Pandey) that features comedy which I don’t think we’ve ever seen in a thriller.

In my quick review on social media, I asked Sriram Raghavan not to convince anyone that this is a thriller because it’s a comedy blessed with many thrills. It’s a new genre: Thrilledy. To which one of the story’s writers, Anukriti Pandey, replied, “We never meant to write it as a thriller anyway. This is just a story of two strangers.” This one sentence explained everything I wanted to know about why this film is like it is. It won’t try to shock you like Andhadhun in every single act, not even remotely dark as Badlapur; remember the fast-paced nature of Johnny Gaddaar? This doesn’t have it.

This has its unique DNA like other Raghavan films; it starts with giving a tribute to Shakti Samanta (An Evening In Paris, Amar Prem, Aradhna), develops as a romantic film, turns into a thriller with just the right amount of drama laced in between. The saying “Be ready for the rollercoaster of emotions” was invented for this film. You’ll like this film purely based on what you’d expect from it. If you’re able to keep Andhadhun aside for this one & watch this for the movie it is, you’ll have more fun. Madhu Neelakandan’s (Annayum Rasoolum, Churuli) camerawork captured the vintage Bombay like never before. It doesn’t really try hard to get you there, and that’s why it’s more believable for all the efforts of playing a Liril ad in Regal Cinema before The Adventure Of Pinnochio starts.

Merry Christmas Movie Review: Star Performance

Actors were earlier instructed in Bollywood about how they need to learn the language well and to completely nail the accent, the dialect, the pronunciation, and whatnot to be successful. Then entered Vijay Sethupathi and changed the rules forever. If you’ve ever heard this man speaking Hindi, you’d want to focus on what he’s saying rather than how well he is saying that. He’s in a position where it’s tough for him to go wrong with anything because if he can do Sandhanam (Vikram) & Albert both easily, he’s at a different tangent altogether.

Another benefit of having him in your film is all of your other actors would want to match his aura & oh my god, has Katrina Kaif surprised here? New York finally has a contender, being her best performance ever. Her character, Maria, goes through a range of emotions throughout, and you can see how well Kat has adapted every single one of them.

Sanjay Kapoor, in a special appearance, does the required task, bringing his natural presence. Radhika Apte is used as a lucky charm, and she’s as good as she always has been. Vinay Pathak & Pratima Kazmi as the police are, as usual, fun to watch. Tinnu Anand has a decent lending role.

Merry Christmas Movie Review
Merry Christmas Movie Review Is Out! (Picture Credit: IMDb)

Merry Christmas Movie Review: Direction, Music

Sriram Raghavan surprises once again & nothing less than this was anyway expected from him after Badlapur & Andhadhun. One thing that took me by shock was the humor he aced. After watching ‘Le Monte-Charge’ (a 1962 French film based on the same novel as this one), I can definitely say this is all Raghavan. Yes, the Noir element is the same, but the way Raghavan has treated this as an ‘entertaining film’ rather than being all about thrills makes this stand out from the crowd.

Jumping from Sachin-Jigar (Badlapur), Amit Trivedi (Andhadhun) to Pritam in this one, Sriram has time and again proved how he has the best ear for the songs in his movies. Taking inspiration from Oscar Hammerstein II’s ‘Some Enchanted Evening,’ Varun Grover writes “Raat Akeli Thi Toh Baat Nikal Gayi, Tanha Shehar Mein Wo Tanha Si Mil Gayi, Maine Use Poochha Hum Pehle Bhi Mile Hain Kahin? Kya? Haan Hum Mile Hain Sau Sau Dafa, Main Dhool Hoon, Tu Kaaravaan…” fitting perfectly with the situation in the film. Raghavan’s constant Daniel B. George brings out the best in him with the background score.

Merry Christmas Movie Review: The Last Word

All said and done, Merry Christmas is one of those rare films you can watch at any time, anywhere & you won’t regret it. It’s a film with a very long shelf life – a rarity these days.
Four stars!

Merry Christmas Trailer

Merry Christmas releases on 12 January, 2024.

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