Nawazuddin Siddiqui brings to us the importance of the camera as a tool of glorification. It not only captures the outstanding moments but also glorifies the surrounding objects in our life.
Directed by – Ritesh Batra
Produced by – Ritesh Batra, Ronnie Screwvala, Viola Fügen, Neil Kopp, Michel Merkt, Vincent Savino, Anish Savjani, Michael Weber
Starring – Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Sanya Malhotra, Farrukh Jafar
Music by – Peter Raeburn
Cinematography – Tim Gillis, Ben Kutchins
Edited by – John F. Lyons
Production company – Poetic License Motion Pictures, RSVP Movies (India Release)
Plot: The movie “Photograph”, set in Mumbai, opens with a scene in which we see a photographer near Gateway of India who quotes a line to everyone that after years it will be the photograph that will remain the same; you will grow old but the photograph will remain the same. The voices will fade, people will be lost, but the photograph will still maintain the glow of your face. The photographer is none other than Rafi(Nawazuddin Siddiqui) who quotes this line to everyone.
The scene takes a shift and we meet the heroine of the movie Miloni (Sanya Malhotra) who is a complete nerd. She hails from an upper-middle class family. Once while shopping she gets lost in the crowd near the Gateway of India. Rafi quotes his routine lines to her which strikes her and she readily agrees. He clicks her photograph which turns out to be a lively one. But as she is in a hurry, she takes the photograph, however, is unable to pay Rafi for the same.
There occur twists and turns in the plot and because of Rafi’s grandmother who holds him at ransom, an unorthodox love story gets underway between Rafi and Miloni.
Review: Photograph personally was a much-anticipated film. And, I must mention it at the beginning itself that the movie felt like poetry to me. It went down deep within my psyche and made me question my cognisance. I must say, Ritesh Batra has paid a sublime tribute to Mumbai in this movie; it appears no less than an ode. It is perhaps the first time that we are not shown the pompous and majestic Mumbai rather this movie takes a deep dive and explores the struggles of people living “the city of dreams”.
The character of Rafi, a street photographer, highlights his struggles; the character of Miloni explores how lonely and deprived of happiness a human can be no matter, she is an achiever. The shabby room of Rafi which he shares with 4 other people, the kind of relationship which he shares with his people in the neighbourhood, his little habits like eating kulfi at the end of the month brings to the table a psychedelic experience. Dialogue like “Log Bhool Jaate Hai”, the comments on Rafi’s skin colour, the loneliness, the difference between the two classes are some of the social issues addressed in the film. However, the prime focus of the film ‘Photograph’ appears a bit lost at the end.
Nawaz, Sanya and Farrukh Jafar are the soul of the movie. All three protagonists have magnificently played their roles. They have ventured so alluringly into their roles that it becomes difficult to distinguish them as actors. The tiny cameos by Vijay Raaz and Jim Sarbh have summarised what the film wanted to express.
Our verdict: No matter how amazing the plot, cinematography, and visualisation is, the movie is unable to cater to all types of audience. The tentative and halting touch of Nawaz and Batra is not enough to beguile the audience. Watch this movie only if you like slow movies.
In this quote by Ayushmann Khurrana, which appears relevant here I would like to add the word “photograph” after “a poem”.
“The imagination is more powerful than the reality because perfection only exists in imagination. Only brilliant ideas & concepts last forever. Cities & civilisations get destroyed. People just die. But things as simple as a thought, a poem, a story survive the ravages of time.”