"Is love enough?" is a straightforward and simple question. Yet the deeper you try to get an answer, the harder it gets. And that is what Rohena Gera's debut feature film titled 'Is Love Enough Sir' is all about.
It was initially released at the Cannes Film Festival followed by a theatrical release in European countries in 2018. After winning many accolades at different film festivals, the film witnessed multiple delays and finally hit the screens in December 2020, post the lockdown. The film recently had its OTT release on Netflix.
The premise with class difference
The movie opens with a scene where Ratna (Tillotama Shome) is seen packing her bags. As she leaves her house, her mother asks 'why so early' and she replies saying she “has been called” for reasons unknown. As her journey progresses, we get to see an independent, bold, and determined women who is on her way to ‘living life on your own terms'.
She reaches Mumbai where she works as domestic help for Ashwin (Vivek Gomber). Ashwin is a rich cosmopolitan man who is looking after a construction company along with his father. Both Ratna and Ashwin belong to two extreme classes yet they have problems of their own and dreams to live on.
Setting the right questions
Unlike the usual Bollywood love stories, writer-director Rohena Gera’s film revolves around not just the bonding of two characters but also their hopes and despair.
Not only with the use of music and songs, but Rohena Gera also makes use of silence and space around the characters. Within the same house, the rooms of the employer and the boss themselves define the difference. The emotions here are expressed as the camera moves horizontally over their rooms every now and then.
In one scene, Ashwin runs out of his house to find some relief before a beachside. On the other hand, Ratna's happy place is the terrace of the building. The open sky here literally denotes varying emotions within an individual.
Living the roles
The best part of the movie is that it never goes overboard with its emotions. There are plenty of moments to treasure in the movie and these are all short and delicately crafted.
Tilottama Shome is sublime as Ratna. In a scene where she tells Ashwin that 'life is not over', she delivers her lines savouring the melancholy rhythm of the film. She is silent inside the house but cheerful outside.
Vivek Gomber as Ashwin has a soothing presence. In a scene when Ashwin finds Ratna in his room, he responds calmly with a smile understanding what the other character is going through.
There is much to smile at throughout this film as the two get to know each other and, in the process, tap into suppressed sides of themselves.
The right delivery
The beauty of the film lies in the exploration of the relationship with layers of complexity beneath the surface. The film is not about whether Ratna and Ashwin would be together but goes beyond reminding us of the same question from where we begin 'is love enough'.
With an open ending, it's almost as if the movie lingers even after the curtains come down.