Photograph Movie Review Rating: 3/5 Stars (Three stars)
Star Cast: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Sanya Malhotra, Farrukh Jaffar
Director: Ritesh Batra
What’s Good: The subtly strong performances by Sanya, Nawaz and Farrukh ma’am, the celebrated cinematography taking us to the ‘night we met’ Mumbai & the calming background score.
What’s Bad: The over-simplistic & minimalistic approach to the storyline!
Loo Break: That depends on how you take the first 15 minutes of the film, if you’re immersed in it then you’ll not need any break!
Watch or Not?: Liked The Lunchbox? Watch this to get a similar feeling in a slightly different universe.
It’s a love story not between just a man and a woman but also between us as an audience and the city shown in the film. A ‘monumental’ photographer (those who we meet outside the monuments) Rafi (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) clicks a very shy, introvert, in herself Miloni (Sanya Malhotra) outside Mumbai’s Gateway Of India. He’s not leading a very happy life because he’s struggling with a loan, he does not have a lot of money, his grandmother stays ill and wishes to witness his marriage.
On knowing, the grandma has stopped taking her routine medicines because of him avoiding the marriage, Rafi sends over a photograph to her. This photo is of Miloni, who is asked to play his little game of faking their relationship to the grandmother. Through all of this, they both start to accept the fakeness of their relationship after eliminating the initial silence.
Photograph Movie Review: Script Analysis
Ritesh Batra delivered a soul-satisfying meal with his previous The Lunchbox. From the one line story of this film until its trailer, it was clearly evident that Ritesh is following a similar template. As rightly quoted in Wikipedia, this movie is a love letter to the city of Mumbai. With the help of Tim Gillis and Ben Kutchins’ camera, Ritesh manages to showcase the ‘vintage’ part of Mumbai; which is missed even by the true Mumbaikars.
The simplistic and minimalistic approach that worked hugely in the favour of The Lunchbox, drags at places here. A conversation is only better if it adds some value to your narration; the writing of Photograph is weak through many sequences. Ritesh has tightly gripped the 90s by bringing in the ‘Campa Cola’ nostalgia. John F. Lyons’ could have been crispier because such movies need the ‘Before Trilogy’ level of editing.
Photograph Movie Review: Star Performance
Sanya Malhotra as Miloni/Noorie is magic on screen! The way she plays with her voice, that becomes a sub-character of her role. Photograph tops the list beating Dangal as her best performance to date.
Playing Rafi must not have been hard for Nawaz because it’s a tailor-made role for him. The character outshines his acting skills to attract natural innocence. Yet again, those subtle pauses in his dialogues are like the cherry on the cake. Farrukh Jaffar as Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s grandma is the biggest takeaway for me from the film. Her annoyingly loving character is from the same storage as Paresh Rawal’s Chachaji from Atithi Kab Jaaoge?
Photograph Movie Review: Direction, Music
Ritesh Batra continues to follow his schooling with Photograph and stays in a zone in which he’s super-comfortable in. What makes this movie more visually appealing is how well-lit it is. The usage of lights throughout different scenes is conducted masterfully. Batra’s direction is smooth, just sometimes his writing is act as a roadblock to the same.
Peter Raeburn’s melancholic music is a perfect match for the narration. The background score fits just perfectly to the scenes adding its magical touch. Though I missed a ‘backdrop’ song which could’ve escalated the experience further.
Photograph Movie Review: The Last Word
All said and done, Photograph’s childlike innocence will attract you towards it. Sanya Malhotra’s profound performance will find its fans. Watch it if you can digest movies in this zone!
Photograph releases today, that is, on 15th March, 2019.
Share with us your experience of watching Photograph.