Awkward silences and human hesitations constitute for all the charm in Rohena Gera’s film
While you are surrounded by full blown commercial flicks thrown at you, suddenly a film like Is Love Enough Sir comes your way and asks you to stop, calm down, and get consumed in the surreal beauty of what a relationship is. It is films like these that ask you deep and profound questions about human bonds and belongings, quite beyond the typical and currently-in physical attractions. You watch a film and suddenly become more aware of people around you, their feelings, and their likes and dislikes, more than yourself. This film right here has the power to move you.
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What will happen when an unlikely love blossoms between a wealthy architect Ashwin (Vivek Gomber) and his widowed house help Ratna (Tillotama Shome) amid the notions of class divide?
Written by Gera, the film promises of a strong premise. It boasts of human emotions packed in mundane day-to-day lives with something subtle to take away. The film works on strong characterisation. The narrative is such that it seems continued from a long episode of Ratna working for Ashwin in his plush apartment. The comfort that he has with her around is woven into the screenplay, by not just the writing but also how the character sketches have been drawn.
The film also grows on you by how beautifully details are squeezed into the limited runtime of the film. The film is not only about a love angle. It talks about someone’s dreams irrespective of class, her frustration in not being able to achieve something, her little moments of joy when something of a tiny magnitude happens to her, and also how a man is drawn to the woman. There is also a hint of helpless jealousy that you stumble upon. And yes, the frequent instances of how class divide acts for certain people. As difficult it is to put it into form, as effortless does it seem on screen.
The biggest beauty of the film is its use of silence between two people. Give it to the actors also that you don’t require dialogues and everything is conveyed brilliantly by how they have acted. The writing succeeds majorly because the actors have been able to live that to the core. The calm, composure, dead silences, awkward hesitations, limiting the body gestures, using facial expressions to the maximum advantage have all made the film what it is.
No drama, no exaggeration, no superfluous actions. The characters don’t resort to anything that is outright romantic, but still the film is very much romantic. It hits directly at the small part of your heart that still believes in the sanctity of human oneness. There are scenes and dialogues that are so plain and routine that one may just ignore them otherwise. But here, they act magically. The portion where Ashwin gets her a sewing machine, and all she can utter is a ‘thank you’ or when she apologises for using the big mirror in his room in his absence and he understands, or when he simply cares by asking if she is getting any money for the tailoring job, or when he calls her ‘brave’ and she asks its meaning to the chauffeur, or when Ashwin wears the shirt gifted to him by Ratna- are all moments of gold. They are reflective of the mature understanding that two totally contrasting personalities have.
The narrative however should have invested a little more on the journey that the characters undertake. Ofcourse, the attraction and eventually expressing it has happened over time, but the way it is shown doesn’t give you the depth of it entirely. You do know that something will happen between them, but you do feel that the idea of love portrayed by Ashwin is not completely real. What if this is actually some infatuation, because that has happened with your man even before. Ofcourse, since the lady in question is the lead actress, you are bound to believe it to be true.
Tillotama Shome lives the role as if she is indeed the domestic helper. Not for a second does she leave that image behind. The way she drapes her sari, the way she talks, looks, sees the boutique on the road outside from the bus, and how she works in the house is simply spectacular. She is a delight to watch. She gets irritated at times, frustrated at some. She is also happy at some points, angry and sad at some. All the moods are so rightly brought to life by her that you just can’t stop marveling her.
Vivek Gomber too is fantastic. Right from his first scene when he enters the house frustrated with a trolley bag to the portions when he leaves the house or when he smiles subtly to Ratna, is all so wonderfully done that you feel you are seeing a real man. A wealthy man with a good heart- that’s what Gomber has become. His restricted body language is one of the biggest assets of the film.
The supporting cast in small roles lend able support setting the much needed aura.
Pierre Avia is responsible for music while sound has been given by Arnaud Lalaleix, Nicolas D’Halluin, and Jean-Guy Veran. Although there is not much music or tunes, it is a very intelligently designed music. You don’t feel the need for anything more, because wherever the score does appear, you are immersed in the drama even more. That’s how the sound has bound the film together.
Cinematography by Dominique Colin captures the spaces nicely. Also the shots, angles and physical distance between the lead pair forms a crucial element of storytelling. If you observe closely, this physical distance achieved through smart camera keeps reducing in every scene of the film as the film progresses. Production design by Parul Sondh is also sharp encapsulating all what the film stands for. Sobre colours and the setting of the characters has been done with deep thought. Although the film doesn’t travel to various places in Mumbai, but the essence of the city has been brought out marvellously.
Editing by Jacques Comets is very satisfactory as per the writing of the film. The pace is slow because the film demands that. The flow is good and there is a complete arc. There is absolutely nothing dull in terms of the definitions of structure. Whatever happens, takes it good time but doesn’t over elaborate on one thing only.
It is a film that needs you to be patient. It is a film that tells you that relationships are beautiful. It is a film that tells you to be considerate and respectful of people around you. It is a film that asks you to look at life maturely. If you can do this all, this film is for you