Ritesh Batra wrote and directed “Photograph” and with a great premise and earnest cast, the film almost hits the quality of his previous gem “The Lunch Box”.
It’s one thing to leave a movie open ended (which this one does), it’s another to leave an important loose end. I have to wonder how this happens with major projects…it’s like baking the perfect cake and frosting all of it except for a bald circle on the top. As one of my favorite Fred Willard mockumentary quotes goes, “What Happened?” (featured image)
At any rate, I still enjoyed Photograph, a luxurious Indian cultural bath of arranged marriages, familial pressures and communal joys in Mumbai. While I wouldn’t want to live a life that restricted, not only spatially, but relationship-wise, there is a simplicity and acceptance that this culture embraces. Let’s face facts: America is not only spoiled rotten with choice, but also probably more dimwitted due to the same multitude of distractions.
Another endearing cultural component is respect for elders and the Grandmother character is well drawn and well acted by Farrukh Jaffar. The principal romantic leads (Sanya Malhorta and award winning Nawazuddin Siddiqui) were also believable with their awkward romantic timidity. I was reminded of half a romance I had (I was sure I liked him, but will never know if it was vice versa) in the mid-eighties with a Scottish Social Studies teacher. Perhaps another story left better by mystery.
One beautiful theme from the film involved how precious photographs are to us and how many times, a photo image can capture us at our very best, even better than we are in our everyday lives.