‘Despite its slow pace, this one is a rare movie which succeeds on almost every level, the skillful threading together of the plot, its characters, the costumes, and the acting make it worth a watch.’
When you read the plot summary, you might feel that the film is Cinderella-ish, given how our Prince Charming, Ashwin who is an author by heart and a builder by misfortune, falls in love with Ratna, his domestic help. One thing, the movie is gorgeous. Director and story writer, Rohena Gera livens up your screen, makes your heart dance, coaxes you into facing the harsh reality, and then makes your heart dance again.
Tillotama Shome (Ratna) and Vivek Gomber (Ashwin) nail their respective parts. It all seems so real. Shome’s character in Hindi Medium and Gomber’s in A Suitable Boy deserve mention, for they were polar opposites from the ones they played in ‘Is Love Enough? Sir’. It seems as if they were earmarked for their roles. From Shome’s synthetic georgette sarees, mismatched blouse designs, her gait to her flawless Marathi accent, she does unquestionable justice to Ratna’s character. As for Vivek Gomber, no amount of praise can be enough for a man who can play the most arrogant 1950s man in A Suitable Boy as seamlessly as this modern humble sweetheart. In the film, Ratna nurses Ashwin’s house and his heart, both of which are broken by a cheating fiancée. It’s heartwarming to see how Ratna, a widow herself, tends to Ashwin and asks him to stride forward in life, come what may.
The movie brings you face to face with the problems encountered by the people of both upper and lower rungs of society. Ratna’s dream of being a fashion designer is ruined due to early marriage and widowhood. But she still works for money as a servant and pays for her tailoring classes. The film makes us question our societal norms in many instances. Why can’t a poor widow dream big? Why was a life of depravity forced upon her? Does she not have any identity other than being her husband’s widow? Why are millions forced to dream according to the amount of money they have? Society and Ratna make pretty clear to us, the distinction between a tailor and a fashion designer. If you’re rich and educated, you’re the latter, but in case you lack money and the ability to speak English fluently, you’re just a tailor. Your craftsmanship is of the least importance.
Ashwin on the other hand has every comfort one can dream of. But it is out of the sheer exasperation and disappointment he has for his life that he gives up his dream of being a novelist. After leaving his unfaithful girlfriend at the wedding altar, he finds love and companionship in Ratna. This is not about any Khap Panchayat or even a controversial gay couple – it’s a situation that is so simple, so obvious and yet so much more forbidden that nobody has even thought about it before. Any romance across these two communities, in our minds, can only be one rooted in deceit. Isn’t it possible that real love – true tenderness, care, sensitivity and understanding of the other’s needs is possible? Rohena thinks it is. Any love story is incomplete without its share of complications and this one has its own. Ashwin finds it impossible to convince Ratna that they’ll be equal in the relationship and of course, his friends disapprove of her! But even these clichèd hindrances have you hooked till the end.
The film is fairly long, seems a bit drawn out at places, but the supporting characters, especially that of Laxmi Tai, the superb acting and dialogue delivery make it a phenomenal piece of art. There are not many characters in the movie but each one is fleshed out so well. Places where the director has captured the subtlest nuances so accurately make it really beautiful – where we see Tillotama with her bangles, phone conversation with her family, her visit to a fancy designer showroom, buying vegetables and mutton, and other things. I can go on and on as I remember every scene. In the end, unlike Bollywood movies where they preach to us, this one subtly conveys its message. And the ending will make you happy, as it will let you interpret it on your own. It’s heart-touching, lovely, and definitely worth your time – twice or maybe even thrice.