A sweet and charming movie that will captivate viewers
Ritesh Batra, most known for his movie The Lunchbox, creates a film that on paper, doesn’t seem like all that much. But something that Batra does so well is he is able to take such a simple premise and build off of simple moments that in the end, creates a beautiful story which is Photograph. An older man in Mumbai, Rafi, has a job where he takes photos of people for a living. One day he meets this young, middle-class woman, Miloni, who is studying to be an accountant and he takes her picture in the background. The two do not have much interaction, similar to a fleeting moment someone would have with another person on the busy streets of New York. The twist happens when Rafi’s grandmother keeps pestering him to find a wife, even though he is very resistant to the idea of marrying and starting a family. In order to appease his grandmother, he sends her a picture of Miloni, claiming that this is his fiancé. The problem is that his grandmother then makes it her mission to come to Mumbai to meet his fake fiancé. The plot thickens where he tries to find this mysterious woman and then try and convince her to play this role of his fiancé.
This movie is a bit slow. But, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. As said before, Batra is a master at making the small moments count. The fact that this movie is on the slower side allows the viewer to take in every small detail and absorb the plot as it moves along. The development of each character happens gradually but doesn’t feel forced or rushed. Within this almost three hour timeframe, the viewer grows to understand and empathize with each character. One thing that I felt was very interesting was that there wasn’t a lot of dialogue comparatively to most other movies. Both characters were rather shy and quiet for the most part. But with that being said, there were so much unspoken dialogue that was were hidden under simple gestures like glances, smirks, and hand movements.
One of the biggest appeals to this movie is the subtle comedy. If you ever grew up in South Asian household, you know a lot of the quirky things that the grandparents like to do. The biggest point of comedy was Rafi’s grandmother and her mannerisms. His grandmother was very aggressive, sometimes rude, very blunt, but overall very loving. This sort of behavior is something you would typically see in the older South Asian generation which added to the comedy of the movie.
Overall, Photograph is a movie that gives a lasting impression in a very small way. It’s a simple plot that goes by slowly but entrances its viewer with the very realistic way in which is captures real life. The slow pace and the characters make you feel like you are actually watching two people, not two made up characters. This movie is charming, cute, and will leave a lasting impression on most viewers.