Photograph Review & Rating
Photograph Review: A Good Film But Strictly For A Niche Audience
Photograph is a sort of niche movie. It is an Indian film made with Indian actors for the foreign audience. It is the story of unlikely bonding between a street photographer who takes photographs of tourists at the landmarks and that of a nerdy chartered accountant who has been facing metaphysical emptiness in her life. Seems a bit niche, isn't it?
The old-school world of Rafi and Miloni
Nawazuddin Siddiqui plays the photographer in question, Rafi who roams around in the Mumbai streets, near all the famous landmarks searching for potential clients who let him take their photograph with a Polaroid camera covering a landmark they are nearby and with the promise of one of the best photographs of their life. He is a typical protagonist in many of the Hollywood romances and the setting is similar. Only that it is set in Mumbai and unfortunately, Nawazuddin Siddiqui really nailed the character.
A word on Rafi. He lives a frugal life as is the case of most of such persons in a vast city like Mumbai. He sleeps at nights alone. Yes, now we have come to the point. He is unmarried. In a politically correct way, he is single. This worries his grandmother. And naturally, she nags him. There are people who make comments about this too.
On another routine day of trying to convince people to allow him to take their photographs, Rafi comes across a girl named Miloni. She is shy and has a hauntingly empty look on her face. He tries to convince with every trick possible and finally, he shoots a snap of her.
At the other end of his life, his grandmother arrives and pressurizes him to think about his life and to get married soon. To fend off this torture, he searches for the shy Miloni and asks her to act as his fiancee. She readily agrees to ward off some boredom in her life.
Miloni is from a proper middle-class background and hers is a life poles apart from Rafi's. She is a bit awkward and the way both of them interact makes others think if they are really in love. How their relationship evolves over the short period they have put on an act and if they continue their bonding until the end of their lives form the rest of the story.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui is masterful in his portrayal of the role. He is refreshingly understated in the role of Rafi after playing the role of Maratha Tiger Bal Thackeray. Most of the time he remains expressionless in Photograph but his character's inner struggle is apparent even to the casual viewers. Sanya Malhotra has come up with another good performance in her budding career and she suited the role well. Farrukh Jaffar springs up a surprise with her portrayal of Rafi's grandmother. She is endearing and connects with us by reminding some of her grannies.
Writing and direction
The narration of the movie though good and has interesting elements, runs at a snail's pace. The movie is strictly not for everyone. No, it's not like that. Only those who want to invest their time and money on a lazy weekend can watch it. Otherwise, it is not a must watch for the casual audience.
The movie is advertised as a love letter to the city of Mumbai. Yes. The heart and soul of the majestic city are captured well. But it's all for a particular section of the audience. The movie is out of place and pace in a world where everything is corporatized. Even consuming food. The dialogues are good and certain set pieces that lead to dramatic moments are conceived well.
The music is apt for the setting of the film and elevates the loneliness of the protagonists. The cinematography is good and captured the director's vision of Mumbai in an exemplary manner. The production design is first rate and the movie though made on a relatively lesser budget doesn't feel cheap.
Photograph is like a photograph from the past with sepia-tinted images. Just like the images of the past are out of place in this world of instant gratification, it may appeal to a select few among the movie buffs who treasure such films. Of course, we still see people who like black and white photographs, no? But who makes mobile phones only with a black and white camera? Right?
- The city of Mumbai is a character in the movie
- Nawazuddin and Sanya did a great job
- Nostalgic factor
- Slow-paced narration is so out of place in this fast and instant world.
- Casual audience needs loads of patience to sit till the end.
Pycker Rating: 2.75 out of 5
Tailpiece: Yes. We are coming to it. You ask me if this reviewer liked the movie? In parts.
Reviewed by: GitacharYa
Photograph Critic Reviews
Photograph User Reviews
A nice movie but the narration is pretty slow
What is Photograph About?
It is a world we all know. And it is a world we don't dwell into much in this hustle and bustle world. Photograph tells a simple tale with complex emotions. It is about the bonding between two human beings who are from two different worlds but are cut from the same piece of cloth. Of course with different colors and purposes. Rafi is a street photographer which is a rare profession in this increasingly corporatized world. Miloni is an aspiring chartered accountant who passed her foundation course with flying colors.
When these two worlds meet, sparks are never to fly. A simple chance meeting. She is walking on the street, brooding about her life. He is searching for a client. He desperately needs to click a photograph so that he could get a few bucks. He tries all his tricks to make her accept to let him photograph her. But this chance meeting leads to a lot of things and change their lives for good.
The director of this movie, Ritesh Batra is known for films like The Lunchbox which also stars Nawazuddin Siddiqui and the American romantic drama Our Souls at Night. Sensible films made with complex emotions. Photograph is also of the same genre and stars Sanya Malhotra as the girl whom our hero meets.
A heart-touching tale of romance and emptiness in life
All these issues are common in anyone's life. Our photographer earns meager amounts and it is always tough for him to make ends meet day after day, week after week, and month after month. But with age his relatives, especially his grandmother wants him to marry a suitable girl. But who in this day and age wants to marry a street photographer of all people?
When Rafi couldn't take it anymore prodding from his granny, tries to meet and convince Miloni to act as his girlfriend. For time being. To fend off the torture of his grandmother. She accepts this easier than allowing him to take a snap of her previously. And one incident leads to another and how they end up, whether they actually become one or part ways?
Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Sanya Malhotra's unlikely jodi
Nawazuddin Siddiqui is a master in playing these kinds of simple roles. Here he plays the role of a street photographer who is desperately in need of convincing his grandmother of his having a girlfriend. The romance and the setting are similar to the film The Lunchbox. But here, he is the protagonist rather than a side player.
Sanya Malhotra who is fresh off the success of the quirky feel-good drama, Badhaai Ho, is playing the role of a rejected girl who looks nerdy for her own good. It appears that her Miloni is a sort of character who suffers from a metaphysical emptiness in life. Whether her interaction with a more pragmatic Rafi brings cheer or grief in life can only be known by watching this film.
Short filmmaker turned feature director, Ritesh Batra has always impressed the mainstream critics. He made a couple of foreign films apart from The Lunchbox which was set in Mumbai and now returns to his happy hunting ground. An America appropriate story set in the backdrop of bustling Mumbai with grounded characters like in his previous films. Photograph promises to be a pleasant watch this weekend.
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