Movie: Margarita with a Straw
Director: Shonali Bose
Cast: Kalki Koechlin, Revathy, Sayani Gupta, Kuljeet Singh
Genre: Social Drama
It was intermission and I rushed to the bathroom to relieve my begging bowels. Just then I heard two girls talking outside my door.
Girl 1: Iam not enjoying the movie. Connect hi nahi kar paa rahihoon.
Girl 2: Haan, mujhe toh uske liye kuch feel hi nahi ho raha.Bechari bhi nahi lag rahi.
The person referred to in the above conversation is Laila, a college going girl affected by cerebral palsy. And the reason these two girls are unable to connect with Laila’s character is that latter is a girl with a visible motor skill disorder yet is no different from any other college-goer of her age. She lives life just like any of us or to put it crassly, without evoking the ‘normal class’s’ sympathy. Simply described, Margarita with a Straw is a movie about living; like the straw in the poster, movierises up to you through twists and turns, swirls and swings, before exploding in your mouth into a strong bitter sweet taste, just like Margarita. Director Shonali Bose is known for her finesse and she stands upto her reputation with this movie.
Laila (Kaki Koechlin) is a college going teenager who is bound to her wheelchair due to cerebral palsy. She shares a special bond with her mother (Revathy). She is a lyricist for her college band and a pretty good one at that too. Just like any other girl her age, she falls in love, cries at heartbreaks, secretly watches porn and unashamedly explores her sexuality. But will she survive the bumbpy ride that awaits her or will she fall apart even before she had a chance to rise?
Kalki Koechlin is fantastic as Laila. The years of disciplinedtraining as a theatre artist screams out aloud in every single scene; the precision and perfection with which she has essayed the role of a person with Cerebral palsy is awe inspiring.Revathy does a fine job as Laila’s mother and their chemistry is fire-cracking. And, last but clearly not the least, actress SayaniGupta’s splendid performance as a blind girl has had a lot ofBollywood tongues wagging in appreciation and hopefully we will see her again on the big screen soon.
The script written by Shonali Bose is a simple message. And that message is for the two girls in the washroom- Our responsibility is not restricted till labelling a disabled person as differently-abled. There is also a need to understand that a disabled person is indeed just a differently-abled person like any one of us, no one needs to be sympathised with. And for god’s sake don’t be mortified to know that they are just as sexually active as you are! Disability does not equal to asexuality, and if you are making a face, then I pity you to say the least.
The music composition by Joi Barua and lyrics by Prasoon Joshi and Mickey Mclearly is simply catchy. The cinematography by Anne Misawa needs to be mentioned especially as certain shots were just too perfect to be described in words. Director ShonaliBose has indeed put together a winning team for her masterpiece Margarita with a Straw.
This is one drink you must taste, and let it flow down your throat burning a little but intoxicating you enough to leave you with a lasting smile for the day.
My Verdict: ****