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MARGARITA WITH A STRAW - Hindi cinema takes a big progressive leap with Shonali Bose, Nilesh Maniyar and Kalki Koechlin, the QUEEN of 2015. (Review by Bobby Sing)

19 Apr, 2015 | Movie Reviews / 2015 Releases

Margarita With A Straw

Praising the big progressive leap taken by Hindi Cinema with MARGARITA WITH A STRAW, we first need to thank the entire talented team behind its making and then the Censor Board too for being understanding & kind enough to allow such honest depiction on screen, that is certainly bold enough for a Hindi film made on the life events of a differently abled young girl ready to discover herself.
Elaborating on the theme further, there have been few Hindi films in the past based on related subjects like BARFI, PAA, TAARE ZAMEEN PAR, LAFANGE PARINDEY, MY NAME IS KHAN, EESHWAR, SADMA and more. But there never has been a film dealing with the emotional and sexual desires of a confident, young, college going girl suffering from 'Cerebral palsy', featuring few amazingly truthful intimate scenes shot sincerely.
In more appreciative words, MARGARITA WITH A STRAW is one of those rarest Hindi films (probably the only one), that effectively portrays the passionate (sexual) conflicts faced by its lead (differently abled) female character with a remarkable simplicity, at your face honesty and no hiding attitude at all, not looking for any kind of pity or sympathy from the audience. The film is indeed a triumph achieved by Shonali Bose and her co-director Nilesh Maniyar, as another adorable project (post her AMU in 2005) for which she can truly feel proud along with her dear cousin, who happens to be the basic inspiration behind Laila.
Revolving around Laila’s courageous journey to know more about herself and her bisexual identity, the complex character has been perfectly lived by Kalki Koechlin on screen with an astonishing authenticity in her disability in speech, awkward hand movements and tilting of the head, easily slipping into the body of her given character so amazingly. Kalki certainly needs to be applauded for choosing such a difficult role at this stage of her career and then delivering the unexpected too with sheer perfection that is sure to give sleepless nights to many known names of the industry. Her chemistry with Sayani Gupta is again engaging (though not having the much needed depth) and they both do come up as complete natural even in those tense, sensual scenes exploring the other.
The supporting cast calmly led by Kuljeet Singh beautifully supports Kalki throughout including Malhar Khushu, Hussain Dalal, Tenzing Dalha, William Moseley and others. But the second towering performance that holds the film together is of Revathy playing the adorable mother, individually fighting with her own ‘undisclosed’ ailments. The lady is so believable as the mother in all those homely clothes and sequences that one can easily relate to her as someone closely known like a family member. Particularly I loved watching her in the scene where she doesn’t like the way lady attendant ties the hair of Kalki so casually and hence gets up and ties them again after properly combing as soon as the attendant moves out of the room. In fact, remembering her early films, its really wonderful to witness that the girl who looked so cute in LOVE romancing with Salman Khan in the early nineties, is even more graceful now as the mother in 2015making an equally impressive impact on the viewers.
The film’s soundtrack and background score do play a crucial role in its various sequences, especially the catchy tracks “Koi Shaque” and “Foreign Balamwa”. Still, I personally missed a slow, soothing number a lot expressing Kalki’s personal feelings fighting with her visible loneliness. Cinematography captures both the light and emotional moments of the script beautifully and thus is able to make an instant connection with the viewers through all its realistically chosen frames and soft lights.
Tackling a ‘never discussed before’ kind of subject about the natural sexual desires in differently abled people, Shonali Bose once again forces us to think that why no one dared to bring out this theme from the closet till now? OR is it the case that we simply like to assume that those friends do not tend to have any such natural bodily feelings due to their physical disabilities. The fact really gives us enough food for thought in respect of subjects still lying untouched when it comes to the world of our differently abled friends. But maybe we don’t have much time to think about that seriously or don’t really wish to witness the sadness, the sorrow or the pain in those 3 hours of entertainment bought for a price.
Probably that is the reason, Shonali also keeps the film completely light and even comic for most of the times to make it more appealing to the audience mainly coming into the theaters for getting entertained. However, that’s what I exactly look upon as a flaw in its execution frankly, since the film doesn’t have any place for sadness at all which actually makes it look more superficial or even unbelievable at times as per my personal opinion.
In other words, any kind of liveliness turns out to be shallow without the depth of sorrow felt just before that in equal dosages. And the more deep you feel that sadness, more healthier and stronger will be your happiness as a basic rule of existence.
Yes the writer-director does try to bring in those introspective moments in the concluding half an hour with a tragedy happening all of a sudden resulting in a deafening silence all around. But then again soon returns to the same lively mood in the climax, ending it all on an extremely positive note with the cheerful Laila holding her margarita with a straw.
Summing it all, I did love the film a lot from heart for all its delightful moments focusing on the ever smiling Laila. But perhaps since I sincerely wished to cry with the lady too feeling her inner conflicts fighting with the able world around, I found that much needed sorrow simply missing in the daringly made film putting it honestly.
Anyway, ignoring this personal opinion of mine, do visit the theaters to enjoy the lively world of LAILA and her creative abilities, becoming a part of this new-age cinematic revolution tried by the exceptional creators. And welcome the QUEEN act of 2015 by Kalki Koechlin, eyeing at many of those big award ceremonies held towards the end of the year.
Rating : 4 / 5 (Including the big additional 1 for Kalki alone.)

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19 Apr 2015 / Comment ( 0 )
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