Starring: Tillotama Shome, Vivek Gomber, Geetanjali Kulkarni
Director: Rohena Gera
Love knows no bounds, or so the saying goes. But what happens when we throw in real-world dilemmas of class, caste and financial means? Is love still enough when tested against these divides? That is the question this new release from India tries to unravel.
Ratna (Shome) is a young widow from a village who migrates to the big city in search of to support her poor family and also to pursue her own ambition to become a seamstress. She finds a job as an all-purpose household help – cooking, cleaning and keeping house for a wealthy family in a high-end apartment.
The flat is occupied solely by Ashwin (Gomber), who has recently returned to from New York. His international outlook influences his attitude towards the maid and is therefore more civil and friendly than Ratna would expect wealthy Indian employers to be. This lays the ground for a bond of mutual respect that gradually grows into something more over time.
As someone in charge of ensuring his meals are cooked in time for him and the house is in perfect order, Ratna soon becomes indispensable to Ashwin. He begins relying on her more than he fully acknowledges even to himself and it’s only when the attraction takes on deeper shades that the duo finds themselves in troubled waters.
Will Ratna and Ashwin be able to break through the age-old barriers that keep star-crossed lovers apart or will they overcome these hurdles for the sake of true love?
The question mark in the title is quite poignant, as the film meanders through to find a plausible answer to whether love really is enough to overcome all hurdles. The powerful and very natural performances by both the leads make this an extremely empathetic tale that tugs at the heartstrings.
Rohena Gera’s unfussy and robust direction, decluttered of too many dialogues, gives the film an extremely realistic flavour. It transports the audience to the couple’s world in a big Indian city that welcomes village migrants with open arms, but mostly only to fill a labour gap. When this migration attempts a more meaningful urbanisation and uplift in circumstances, that very visible rich-poor dividing line becomes all the more pronounced.
There is much in this concise, simple and heart-warming film to keep viewers engrossed as the story unfolds. But as for an answer to the question at the very heart of it, that remains somewhat elusive.