Margarita with a Straw (2015)

Though the film may appear to be about a girl with cerebral palsy, it is more about a girl who lives with the condition like any other. Kalki has played her most difficult role not only physically but mentally, emotionally and biologically as well.

We embark on her journey of discovering love, feelings of exploration, sexuality and above all self worth, self confidence and self love. The film is made with delicate detail and you cannot afford to miss a single frame, for it may be adding to the existing layers or be an important but quick nuance.

Revathy is the strong, silent, supportive and traditional mother. Sayani Gupta as Khanum is the epitome of confidence, perhaps a marker for where Kalki’s Laila aspires to evolve to. The entire supporting cast has been constructed to give their own little message, yet weave into the story to make it stronger. The title of the film is poignant as it speaks of a memory, of abandon and eventually of finding value through yourself.

Director Shonali Bose has told a bold and spirited tale, with sensitivity and maturity. Few films make you appreciate your senses such as this one. And it is a treat for them all.

3.5/5

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2 states (2014)

A book written by and apparently based on Chetan Bhagat’s own dating and marriage story, has Arjun Kapoor (Krish) in a positive role, finally! Alia (Ananya) shines in a confident yet traditional role, different from her other two outings. They make a sparkling couple thanks to the way the director Abhishek Verman has presented them.

The story is simple, reminiscent of a side story in Vicky Donor where the Bengalis finally party with the Punjabis. Here of course, its the ‘Madrasis’ who are subject to Punjabi antics, dished out deliciously by Amrita Singh. She is up against Revathy, who gives it back with equal fervour. Wish there were subtitles for such a film, to let the audience truly be part of both states.

Its an ensemble cast effort, be it the strong and silent Shiv Kumar Subramanium who plays Alia’s dad, or Arjun’s alcoholic father Ronit Roy plays so convincingly. Both families put together, you have a southern buffet served with a north Indian tadka, made sensitively and sincerely.

The director has planned his highs and lows well in the film, sometimes stretching the plot too thin, but taking you to a beautiful conclusion nevertheless.

3/5