With the return of Ritesh Batra to Indian cinema, a lot of us would have been expecting another Lunchbox. This seems apt when we look at the poster in particular. But where Photograph becomes different is that the city of Mumbai is as much a character as the two leads. Whereas in The Lunchbox, the focus was very much on the personal journey of two characters, here it is a little different. We see these two people through the scope of the city. The framing makes us feel that we are observing them from a distance even when there are close-ups.
This approach works better here and it ultimately makes the film a richer experience. So, why am I calling the film incomplete and is it a bad thing? Well, to be clear, it is not really a bad thing because before the end, we get enough moments that make us feel something. Photograph also reminded me of a quote that Radhika Apte’s character says in Andhadhun: “Some things are better because they are incomplete.” A film like this is completely dependent on the performances more than anything else and my word they are brilliant.
This level of brilliance is something that we have come to expect from Nawazuddin Siddiqui and there are shades of his Lunchbox character here. But he is able to make Rafi a different person from Shaikh. More than anyone, the soul of the film belongs to Sanya Malhotra’s wonderful portrayal of Miloni.
The way she speaks, it almost feels like she is scared to say anything. A scene where she meets a prospective groom is a particular highlight for her changing emotions and her coming to terms with it. A special mention has to be made about the show-stealer of Photograph, Farrukh Jaffar who plays Rafi’s grandmother. She has some of the best lines and the way she delivers them is a sheer delight to watch.
In the end, Photograph is the poem that you do not finish but keep going back to. Not because you want to make it complete but seeing it unleashes a cocktail of feelings that take you to a different zone. Not every work of art needs to be finished for it to be good and that is the case here. Also, can we please start a petition for more Campa Cola? (+10 if you understood that reference).
Until next time, bye.