Photograph review: a hesitant lens

A scene from Photograph.

Movie: Photograph

Hindi (U/A)

Cast: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Sanya Malhotra, Farukh Jaffer

Director: Ritesh Batra

Rating: **

Two oddballs meet. Then they keep meeting. But the story refuses to roll.

Photograph is in no rush to capture anything. The romance, or the call-it-what-you-may, stands painfully still even as a mad Mumbai races past on familiarly chaotic tracks.

The film has everything tailor-made for festival circuits: its duration, cast and the pace. Director Ritesh Batra, the man who prepared The Lunchbox, leaves a half-baked meal this time. And the deal-breaker here is Sanya Malhotra’s Miloni, a shy Chartered Accountancy student who guards her emotions like a dragon, even while she is at the dinner table with her family. Much of her words are reserved for the housemaid.

In one way, it's refreshing to see an unpredictable, introvert heroine. But her façade is too unyielding for a viewer looking all around for clues in a movie that is particularly stingy with cinematic giveaways.

Nawazuddin Siddiqui is more forthcoming, giving us a smile or two more. As a streetside photographer making a living at the Gateway of India, Siddiqui promises more than what he peddles: sunlight on your face and wind in your hair, along with his cheap instant frames.

Siddiqui's character is named Rafi, while Sanya is Noorie, making way for some old gems and a soothing Mohammed Rafi wafting in the background.

Much of the movie’s life comes from Siddiqui's good old grandmother (a terrific Farukh Jaffer), who holds him to ransom by ditching her pills till he finds a bride. Does he?

It's all open-ended here. Ritesh Batra doesn’t define his characters in Photograph. The camera is all yours. Filters advised.

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Photograph review: a hesitant lens

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