'Once Again': Movie Review

A Potpourri of Vestiges Review

Rimli Bhattacharya  

Theme Love. Presently streaming in Netflix.

A question looms in my mind, are only the lonely souls who fall in love? Beg your pardon please cast aside the college going youngsters in love, unstable love smitten teens and those who either had a love marriage or an arranged one with happy endings in their life.Though we cannot ignore they too can be lonely in a room full of people. But what about the love which has an open ending? We may crane our necks to revisit the story again, but our thoughts might betray us. Someone asked me the other day if I am speaking on platonic love, I stumbled upon a movie to give my speaker a befitting reply.

Somewhat similar to Ritesh Batra’s movie Lunch Box where love is but a series of exchange of letters over food the movie Once Again is directed by Indian born German film maker Kanwal Sethi showcases the same. It was released on 16 May 2019 in Germany with the common genre which it shares with Lunch Box – food. Starring Shefali Shah as Tara Shetty a widower, restaurateurand mother to two grown ups  Dev (played by Priyanshu Painyuli) and Mira (played by Bidita Bag). We have on the other side a divorced Amar Kumar (played by Kabeer Bedi) an ageing actor who has all the luxuries in life but is lonely. Also father to a daughter Sapna (played by Rasika Dugal) whose custody he has lost in the legal procedure.

With the heartless city Mumbai in the backdrop where everyone is busy or pretends to be busy to make ends meet often forgetting their dreams Tara tirelessly tends to her kitchen unlike the sprawling spotless kitchens which we normally come across in movies. We can see the grinding stone where Tara blends her South Indian delicacies and also the fish curry which she gently wraps in a banana leaf and places in her clay oven. She is fighting to get a loan to revamp her kitchen as Dev’s wedding with his lover closes by and amidst all these happenings in her life she also cooks food for Amar Kumar which Dev delivers. As for Amar apart from his cinematic life which is his bread and butter delving in to Tara’s comestible skills are his only delight. Much like us, the commoners Kumar eats very less but when it comes to Tara he piquancies her creations with a feather touch much like honey from Yeats’ Lake Isle of Inn is free. With both having a choc a bloc schedule the only joy Tara derives is her 10 PM telephonic chat with Amar. The same goes true for Amar as well. The chats on phone and little chits in the brass tiffin box until one day Amar decides to meet Tara. He lands up at her doorstep with a handful of fresh flowers, which of course has been purchased from a vendor and awestruck as he is, setting his eyes on Tara he whispers how beautiful she is.

Shefali Shah does a brilliant job with her natural acting skills, no overdose of make up and in plain bordered cotton saris with a pencil in her bun she delves in to her character that is of a cook, a mother and a lover. The wide eyed beauty stumbles when for the first time at Amar’s residence even after their clandestine meetings,Amar introduces her just a mere cook to his group of friends and colleagues. Here lies the talent of the screen writer, Kanwal Sethi wherein he chooses his lady Tara to forgive the mistake of Amar, something one should learn. The film is accompanied by powerful dialogues like Tara confides that she is scared of sea while Kumar is scared of scaling heights, to put in simple words he is afraid of mountains. A simple confession but with a profound meaning. While Kumar faces an identity crisis when he says to Tara “Khudko hi dhoondkekisikopayajasaktahein.(Once you find yourself, you can find someone else).” Tara refutes “Shayadkisiaurkopaakarkhudkodhoondajasaktahein. (Maybe one can find oneself by falling in love).”Amar’s mood switches between happiness and depression. Happiness when he is with Tara and depression is that he is phobic towards any commitment. Likewise there are many such acts of coincidences in the film. Tara once a classical dancer who gave up her dancing post the demise of her husband ties the ghungroos (bells) once again in her delicate feet. While Kumar plays the role of a ghost who needs to dance and is stumbling in it. We see Tara massaging her night cream on her face and at the other end we see Kumar removing the kaajal from his.

The film speaks of midlife crisis and one needs to remain patient as the film drags at places. We can hear only the hullabaloo of the hawkers, marketers, some places only a song and at times a total silence. Silence is where the answer lies. It screams and that is where Sethi’s mastery lies when he chooses silence between his predominant characters instead of jaw breaking dialogues. Tara who sacrificed her life for her children post the demise of her husband fell in for Amar while Amar who is a lonely man struggles to accept her. Needless to say Amar learns a lesson but whether he sails through the exam called commitment is what we will be looking for in Part 2, may be!

A common question which I am aware the readers are looking for – Was there any sex? No, not even an inch. But you will enjoy the movie that I can promise.

About Author 

Rimli Bhattacharya is a first class gold medalist in Mechanical Engineering with a MBA in supply chain management. She has contributed to two anthologies, A Book of light and Muffled Moans and has written two solo books, The crosshairs of life and That day it rained and other stories. Her other works have appeared in twenty nine literary magazines & E – Zines. She is also an Indian Classical dancer. Views expressed are personal.

Readers, please feel free to share your opinion by leaving your comments. As always your valuable thoughts are highly appreciated 

About A Potpourri of Vestiges

People who liked this also liked...
Share on Google Plus


Post a Comment

Thanks for sharing for valuable opinion. We would be delighted to have you back.