Shobana has a rare amalgamation of natural beauty and grace of individual woman character. I saw her first in Maniratnam’s ‘Dalpati’ years ago and was haunted by her beautiful eyes and expressive facial features. To be honest, she’s the reason why I dare to see this film especially when I came to know that she got National Award for this film.
Laxmi is traditional Indian housewife living with her businessman hubby and 17 years old American born and brought up daughter. She is struggling her loneliness with an indifferent daughter who wanted to live her life like an American teenager (quite natural for her) and business obsessed hubby. She seeks solace with internet chatting and finds a stranger under alias ‘Mitr’ and newly arrived next door American teenager neighbor leading her towards the things traditional Indian woman wouldn’t want to explore.
Throughout the film Shobana maintained the grace of her character but that’s it only. She’s more seems like surrendered domesticated puppet here. Her character is convoluted and dangling one among emotional drift and so I don’t call it strong women character. At once she’s constantly nagging mother of her American bred daughter showing traditional mindset and on another she’s living an American life keeping her loneliness occupied with dance class, carpentry and intimacy with teenage boy. But among all this it’s her presence which gets me hooked to watch this domestic film till the end. We don’t see the other side of her personality. I’m not expecting this when a film is made by a fine woman actor and director like Revati.
There are few other lapses too. The pace of the film is too slow (in other words editing is shoddy). The plot and theme is more cliché and less creative. The film seems more predictable melodrama stretched too far with one liner subject. Almost all the characters including Nasir Abdullah, Preeti and other foreign actors seem so flat and single dimensional.
Similar dilemma was also captured by another women filmmaker. Mira Nair’s ‘The Namesake’ was far better film than this. Based on Jhumpa Lahiri’s fine fiction, the strong point of that film was multidimensionality of the plot etching diasporic confusion between the dichotomy of ‘Home’ and ‘Foreign’.
Watch only for South India’s shining actrss Shobana.