Diwali is usually a very exciting time for those who like to go to a theatre to watch films. Every year, a bunch of big films hit the theatres, vying for the audience’s attention during the festive season. This year, because of the Covid-19 situation, one had expected theatres to shut during the Diwali period as well but what has happened is that the festival of lights has proved to be fruitful for theatre owners who were suffering because of the pandemic. Two new films – ‘Sir’ and ‘Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari’ – opened in the theatres last week and marked the reopening of theatres after a period of seven months.
‘Sir’, a film which had garnered acclaim at some of the most prestigious film festivals across the globe, was all set to hit the theatres earlier this year on March 20, 2020 but missed the date because the lockdown happened around the same time and theatres, like most other business or commercial entities, were compelled to remain shut. What makes one curious about this particular film is that part from winning laurels in the festival circuit, it is a film that had been released in cinemas in various countries over a span of two years and has seen great box-office success.
Ratna (Tillotama Shome) spent most of her life in a small village in Maharashtra. Like most women in her village, she was married off at a very early age. Her husband passed away a couple of months after their marriage and she ended up becoming a widow at the age of nineteen. To make something out of her life and ensure that her younger sister is not deprived of education like she was, Ratna comes to Mumbai and starts working as a full-time househelp at the residence of Ashwin (Vivek Gomber). Ashwin is a gentle, mild-mannered man who is going through a tough time after calling off his marriage to his long-time girlfriend because she cheated on him. Though Ratna does not come from a privileged background like Ashwin, she lives in hope and has big dreams in her eyes. While being around her, Ashwin starts seeing life a little differently.
In the society that we live in, one would hardly see relationships or even friendships that cut across class boundaries. The kind of subject ‘Sir’ deals in has some thematic similarities to the short Zoya Akhtar helmed in the anthology film ‘Lust Stories’. However, the latter was a very different film and those who have seen both the films would concur that it would be absolutely unfair to compare the two. Writer-director Rohena Gera has dealt with the subject in a very sensitive manner and that is something that comes across in every frame of the film. The film moves at a steady pace and is consistently engaging. The 101-minute runtime is just perfect for the kind of narrative structure it has. The inciting incident, though, should have arrived a little early.
Tillotama Shome gets into the skin of her character completely and delivers the kind of performance that vies for top honours. Her body language, mannerisms, dialogue delivery – everything is perfect. In a couple of scenes, she is required to speak in Marathi and does that effortlessly well. Vivek Gomber has an endearing presence to him which works very well for the character he plays here. Geetanjali Kulkarni leaves a huge mark as Laxmi. Anupria gets limited screen time but she gets to be a part of two important sequences in the film and delivers a very fine performance. Chandrachoor Rai gets a couple of scenes to shine. Divya Seth Shah does well in a cameo.
Dominique Colin’s camerawork contributes greatly towards lending a realistic look to the film. The background score (Pierre Avia) is minimal and impactful. The production design reflects thoughtfulness and an eye for detail. The two songs (music: Raghav Vagav, lyrics: Mohit Chauhan) are strictly functional.
‘Sir’ is an extremely well-made film that tells a very important story with utmost sensitivity. This is a film that you should go back to the theatres for.