Margarita With A Straw - Review
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Young adulthood, experimenting with one's sexuality, being comfortable with one's selfishness because that is good for you, relentlessness of life, society's attitude towards homosexuality, dealing with death, and of course society's juggle between harmful over-sensitivity and insensitivity towards differently-abled people – these are some of the themes that Margarita With A Straw touches upon. Each of these make for a film by itself. Usually, a movie that tries to achieve all of this falls flat because it ends up being all over the place. Margarita With A Straw manages to tie it in all together, even if just barely. That in itself is an achievement, other than the fact that it even dares to touch upon so many topics that remain largely untouched by Hindi films.
Here's a confused yet composed character who is at most times sure of what she wants and finds one way or the other to get it – even if it is a way of resolving her confusion. She could teach us a lesson or two in accepting and loving ourselves with our flaws. Oh and she happens to suffer from cerebral palsy. She is an inspiration not only because of her disability, but because she is as normal as it gets. She is mean when she has to be, manipulative as necessary and generally a warm and cool person – Laila (Kalki Koechlin).
I am grateful to the writers, makers and actors for not making Laila an ideal, sacchrine person who we are compelled to like – as in you will be judged if you don't like her. Instead she is a person as grey as you and I. On the other hand, I always struggle with films that I find myself being thankful to for things they did not do. Isn't creating a multi-layered protagonist what a writer supposed to do?
Setting that aside, that I sensed all these layers without it necessarily being spelt out for me says it all as far as Kalki Koechlin's performance goes. Within a few minutes you start seeing Laila as a person beyond her disability. Can there be a better compliment for an actor who is playing a character with a disability, a developmental disability at that?
Each of the other characters are played by equally strong actors. Though they aren't written as strongly. For example, Revathi who plays Laila's mom plays it too cool for an Indian parent. If she is indeed a cool mom, that doesn't show through her character, but is something you have to accept because you are told so. In comparison, her father seems to be a more liberal parent of the two. Similarly, Laila's lady friend, Khanoum (Sayani Gupta) gets a rather flat treatment after the initial intrigue she creates.
And yet, these seem mere niggles in the broader space the film tries to encompass. It is indeed a challenge to get through talking about such topics, each one more important than the next, without being preachy. This one too slips into a “lesson” mode for a moment or so reminding you that it is a film. Even so, the film seems like it needed to be made. And it needs to be watched.
Margarita With A Straw is a statement on behalf the world's largest minority as Maysoon Zayid who suffers from Cerebral Palsy and calls it one of her 99 problems points out in her TED talk. They want to be disassociated from their disability. They want to create an identity that is separate from their disability. Like Maysoon, palsy is just one of the problems Laila has.
Similarly, Margarita With A Straw is simply amazing at the number of things it tries to achieve. Then again, just like it is wrong, at many levels, to reward a person because of their disability, would it be right to award points to a film because it is about a disabled person or the n other topics it touches upon? The related conundrum is do you take away points just because you don't want to be going wrong at many levels? That the question arises itself is testimony enough that Margarita With A Straw leaves a bit amiss.I can complain about not being touched deep within or I can feel happy that it didn't try to manipulate my emotions while having such a bait at its disposal and more. But, one thing it certainly is not is underwhelming. Now or later, in theaters or when its out elsewhere – do watch it! And legally, please.
- meeta, a part of the audience
- Violence: None
- Language: Abusive words used a few times
- Nudity & Sexual content: A couple of intimate scenes – both straight and gay couple.
- Concept: Can the life of a disabled person be normal?
- General Look and Feel: A calm, decisively unbiased look at the life of a disable person.
Margarita With A Straw - Movie Details
- Official Sites: Facebook Twitter YouTube Wikipedia IMDB
- Banner: Viacom 18 Motion Pictures
- Producer: Shonali Bose, Nilesh Maniyar, Ishan Talkies
- Director: Shonali Bose, Nilesh Maniyar
- Lead Cast: Kalki Koechlin, Revathi
- Supporting Cast: Sayani Gupta, Hussain Dalal, Kuljeet Singh, Malhar Khushu
- Story: Shonali Bose, Nilesh Maniyar
- Dialogues: Atika Chohan
- Cinematography: Anne Misawa
- Editor: Monisha R Baldawa
- Music Director: Mikey McCleary
- Costume Designer: Niharika Bhasin, Nikia Nelson
- Art Direction: Avinash Lalwani, Boishali Sinha
- Facebook Page: Link
- Running time: 100 minutes
- Reviewer: meeta
- Language: Hindi
- Country: India
- Genres: Relationships, Social
Margarita With A Straw - Trailer
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