By Ros Seale
Beautifully shot in Mumbai, this is a slow-moving and rather tender film about a love that is inferred and not resolved.
The story revolves around a struggling street photographer, working to pay off a family debt, and a young middleclass woman who is studying to be a chartered accountant.
Confined by their social and economic circumstances their romance is built on things that are left unsaid.
It is written, co-produced and directed by Ritesh Batra (The Lunchbox, The Sense of an Ending) with music by Peter Raeburn which sets the tone.
Rafi (Bollywood star Nawazuddih Siddiqui) takes a photo of Miloni (Sanya Malhotra) in front of Mumbai’s gateway monument, but she is called away by her family it while he is trying to put it into an envelope.
Returning home with the photo to the slum-like area he occupies with a number of male friends, he is told by a friends that his grandmother (Farrukh Jaffar) has stopped taking her medicine until he becomes serious about marriage.
Impulsively, he sends her the photo of Miloni to make her think he has a relationship and the prospect of marriage. Such exciting news brings his grandmother to Mumbai to stay with him and meet the prospective bride.
Rafi sets out in a city of more than 18.000.000 people to find her. Fortunately he sees a photo of her on a billboard advertising the accountancy course she is attending (she is the star pupil) and she agrees to play the role of his girlfriend. They see each other each day and, despite cultural differences, develop a connection.
The story is told very slowly, with little learned about their backgrounds or emotions. They show little animation – and strangely there is an appearance of a ghost.
At the end of the film they go to a cinema and Miloni leaves (when a rat runs over her foot). Rafi joins her and they walk away together with Rafi saying “the stories are all the same in movies these days”.
The inconclusive end leaves the audience to ponder if it means all stories have been told – or is it that we enjoy exploring new characters?
Perhaps there is no need for a conclusion to this film!
Spoken in Hindi, Gujarati and a little English, with English sub-titles.
This film was to be shown at Somerville, Nedlands, but was cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak, but one worth seeing in the future if you get a chance.
Watch the trailer…