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PHOTOGRAPH - A supposedly realistic film that tries your patience with a slow, unengaging narrative, partially remaining far away from reality. (Review By Bobby Sing)

16 Mar, 2019 | Movie Reviews / 2019 Releases

Have always been in support of such challenging, off-beat attempts coming up with thoughtful, innovative subjects made by the young directors, but this time PHOTOGRAPH doesn’t deliver any such significant content and was much less than expected despite the stellar cast and director.
To begin with, the biggest disappointment remains the completely illogical and unrealistic basic premise of the film wherein a young educated (topper) beautiful girl so easily gets involved with a not so good looking local photographer who makes his living by clicking photographs of tourists at Gateway of India and is struggling with his life alone in the cruel city of Mumbai. Here I am not even getting into the ‘different-religion or social status’ factor as that doesn’t even matter when the beginning of their affair only never seems to be acceptable or justified in any manner. Surely the logic can always be that “Love is Blind” but here you never feel that in any of the film’s painfully slow and unengaging sequences where the viewer is forced to assume, instead of effortlessly believe in the proceedings.
Finding its traces in Ritesh Batra’s THE LUNCHBOX which actually got its share of success due to the marketing support given by Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions, strangely PHOTOGRAPH has got many more shows than expected but it doesn’t offer anything even close to the largely engaging and entertaining THE LUNCHBOX. 
Having an otherwise interesting story idea, the writing fails to convince as it moves further, heavily relying on the few well-enacted, poetically silent moments coming at regular intervals. But then the inconsistency of such scenes and a sluggish pace simply kills the excitement felt in the beginning and it never returns back till the end. The film remains uneven throughout where at times you cherish watching a scene or a specific dialogue, but then cannot relate to anything happening on the screen missing a solid reasoning or logic (like the only scene of Vijay Raaz and the Campa Cola sequence). Moreover it never cares to answer any questions like what kind of a suspicious person was the teacher (Jim Sarbh in a cameo) and why didn’t he inform her Star-Performer girl’s parents when he sees her walking away with a strange man in a taxi?
Directed with a festival hangover, this time Ritesh Batra intentionally makes a dry film on love wherein you never ever feel emotionally related to any of the characters on screen, not even the old grandmother made to speak more than required. And it also becomes a typical festival film when you feel like sitting for three hours in the theater watching a mere 110 minutes film which also ends abruptly as if a sudden open ending is the main requisite to submit a film in the foreign festivals. 
In short PHOTOGRAPH only works in its technical department of cinematography (beautifully capturing the city), subtle music, costumes, production design and performances in particular where we have both Sanya Malhotra and Nawazuddin Siddiqui giving their best as per requirement of their off-beat roles. Sanya has only a few words or lines as her dialogues in the film and yet it seems she has said so much just conveying through her eyes and facial expressions. On the other hand, Nawazuddin has already proved his mastery over such predictable or standard roles and he once again performs brilliantly as expected. But having said that, his performance also misses any novelty or surprise factor, which might disappoint many (including his true fans).
To be fair, PHOTOGRAPH can also be described as a film partially based on reality because it perfectly depicts the city of Mumbai and its struggle of life at one end, but remains entirely unconvincing and unreal in its depiction of love and affair on the other, made with an imbalanced kind of vision. 
Concluding on a positive note, I really liked two particular insertions in the film. 
One - the placement of old Hindi film songs in its scenes sung by Mohd. Rafi and Nawazuddin also being named as RAFI. And two – the dialogue where Sanya comments upon her own picture saying, “Photo Mein Woh Ladki Mujhse Zyada Khush Lag Rahi Thi, Aur Mujhse Zyada Sundar’. 
So there are a few appreciable sparks in the film as mentioned above, but I still cannot recommend visiting a multiplex for the same buying a costly ticket. As usual, a home viewing at an online portal soon will be a better choice. 

Rating : 2 / 5 

Tags : Photograph Review by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, New Hindi Films Reviews By Bobby Sing, New Bollywood Movies Reviews by Bobby Sing, Hindi Off-Beat Cinema, Hindi Festival Movies
16 Mar 2019 / Comment ( 0 )
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