Closing Night Treat from the IFFM-2018: Lonely souls in love, divided by class


By Neeraj Nanda

SIR: 96 minutes; Tillotama Shome, Vivek Gomber, Geetanjali Kulkarni, Rahul Vohra, Ahmareen Anjum etc.; Director & Screenplay – Rohena Gera; Cinematography: Dominique Colin; Music: Pierre Aviat; Editing: Jacques Comets; Producer: Brice Poisson.

MELBOURNE, 22 August: Those of us who are from India’s middle class, have a fair knowledge and experience of female ‘maidservants’ from improvised rural families doing our daily chores (cleaning, scrubbing the floor, washing utensils and clothes and even cooking) in big cities. They run our homes (even if there is a housewife or…) and feed their families back home. Also, known as ‘Mai’ (in Delhi), they face a host of issues seldom crossing the class divide. Life, still, is complex.

The movie ‘Sir’ is much more and the housemaid after losing her husband three months after marriage is called back to Mumbai to look after the home of the professional Ashwin, a writer (back from the US), who’s just held marriage has collapsed. The master-servant relationship moves well and Ratna also tries to learn to tailor to become a fashion designer. The lonely Ashwin copes with the new situation with ups and downs as Ratna’s presence becomes more and more towards a rather silent relationship with obvious gestures.

As love kindles the lonely souls, they suffer the din of class. The Mumbai metropolis with all its noise can be noisier with the talk of a maidservant in a relationship with her master. Ratna realizes this but for Ashwin it means nothing. The spark that unites hearts can break class. But it is not easy. Ratna has economic compulsions and is afraid of society. Her making and unmaking is her job as a maidservant. Her ‘Sir’ (Ashwin asks her to call him Ashwin, not Sir) is her employer. The tumultuous relationship swings without a pause. It’s tough and compelling.

So, finally, what happens? Tiloama Shome (Ratna) during a Q-A after the screening of the movie, the closing film of the IFFM-2018, said: “Those who have a heart will understand the outcome of Ratna and Ashwin’s relationship”. Ashwin thinks of going back to the US and calls Ratna and for the first time, she addresses him as ‘Ashwin’ and not ‘Sir”.

The well-crafted movie has Shome’s (Ratna) excellent acting and Vivek Gomber (Ashwin) looks composed doing justice to his character. The cinematography fascinatingly captures the Mumbai metropolis. Well done, Director Rohena Gera.

A big relief for those looking for sensible cinema.

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