Photograph Film Review: That special connection!
The narrative is an assemblage of beautiful events shot with breath-taking lucidity by cinematographers Tim Gillis and Ben Kutchins.
U/A: Drama romance
Dir: Ritesh Batra
Cast: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Sanya Malhotra
Ritesh Batra's The Lunchbox, achieved international success six years ago, and despite two international projects (one with Robert Redford and Jane Fonda) along the way, Batra comes home again, to his comfort zone. He has on offer here, a rather chaste story of kinship, bordering on romance between two acutely lonely souls. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?
While the construct here is similar to The Lunchbox, it doesn't garner a matched significance because of the inherent familiarity in the set-up. This time around he takes on an unlikely pairing of opposites — Sanya Malhotra as Miloni, a CA foundation-course topper from a typically repressed middle class gujarati home, and Nawazuddin Siddiqui as Rafiq, an impoverished photographer, overburdened with familial responsibilities.
Romance for Batra is not about heavy emotion and carnality. It is a process of revealing your innermost fears without putting them into words for someone you can share them with. Both Rafiq and Miloni experience loneliness in varying degrees, and for diverse reasons. Rafiq is impoverished, shares his one-room tenement in a slum colony with fellow photography peddlers.
Check out the trailer here:
In comparison, Miloni is well-heeled; on her way to being considered successful in life. They come from different social strata, and if they spent time thinking about it, they would never have entertained the fanciful notion of getting together. It's a random connection at best, which is made further intriguing by the lie it gets embroiled in. Repressed emotions find an outlet for Miloni in this covertly rebellious action. For Rafiq, they become an aspirational pursuit bordering on hope.
Batra focuses his viewfinder on the warmth that develops between the two characters. It is quite clear that they are drawn to each other based on their individual needs. The timely play of Bollywood songs heightens the possibility of romance for a bit. Peter Raeburn's sweetly compelling score lends nuance to some of the quietly definite moments in the film.
The narrative is an assemblage of beautiful events shot with breath-taking lucidity — by cinematographers Tim Gillis and Ben Kutchins. Mumbai beckons hauntingly as the two central characters make this seemingly fleeting tryst last a lot longer than what seems possible in real life. Photograph is the emblematic representation of that connection we seek in these disconnected times. It speaks to us, but not as much in words as in the moments that warm our hearts.
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