…is my favourite new Indian romantic movie.
As there’s nothing new in Indian romances, nothing Indian about newer romances, and nothing romantic in newer Indian movies, that’s saying something.
A Mumbai girl is in Pune to meet a prospective groom who she has neither spoken with nor seen. He isn’t home, and she can’t access his cell number on her discharged mobile phone. She decides to stick around till evening.
All this happens in the first fifteen minutes. Initially by need and then by choice, she spends the rest of the day with the guy who gave her directions.
About meeting, love, dating, past loves, marriage, soul mates and breaking up. And food, poetry, values, tradition, family, quarrelling, independence, modernism and moving out besides. And so much more.
They differ about everything.
He is a medical representative wearing bermudas, baby fat and a bumpkin smile; she is a fashion designer in a skirt, sunglasses and a sudden temper. The city of Pune is the only other character; Saras Bagh, Sinhagad Fort and Pune Station are its myriad moods.
Pune’s too conservative; Mumbai’s too progressive. Chitale Bandhu and Tulshi Bagh are unbeatable; not by bhel puri and the Arabian Sea. Pune lacks in something; Mumbai has nothing to call its own in the first place. They argue – heatedly.
Gradually, their argument becomes a discussion, then a conversation with mutual respect. Their relationship mirrors it – originally hostile, then tentatively understanding, and finally, old friends.
Two strangers spend hours exploring Pune; at the end of the movie, we don’t even know their names. But so endearing are they and so engrossing their conversation, it just doesn’t matter.
This is the first time I’ve wanted to be in the actors’ place. This is the first time I’ve heard them mouth my thoughts. And this is the only romance which made me think.
The characters rise above how they are enacted. Multiple cameras capture both, their expressions and whereabouts. Crisp editing intersperses crucial shots of their reactions to each other. There is a cracker of a climax that is predictable five minutes before it unfolds; this draws you in rather than puts you off.
But what you will remember this movie for is its dialogue. He often addresses her as ‘Rao’ and justifies himself as ‘Made in Pune’; she often slips into Hindi and speaks in functional Mumbai-chi Marathi.
Swapnil Joshi could’ve underplayed his role; Mukta Barve should’ve rationed her pretty smile. The song ‘Kadhi Tu’ is melodious but completely unnecessary. One hopes director Satish Rajwade will rectify these flaws in the sequel.
For if any film demands and deserves a sequel, it is this. I can’t wait to see what happened next.
You who are not fluent in Marathi, never mind if you don’t understand a few lines – “Kaaran te samzaaychyaat nastaat; samzaayche astaat tya bhaavana”. And you who have already watched it – emulate me.
I started watching the film at four in the evening. By eight, I’d already watched it twice.
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