I had been waiting for this movie since it first released at Cannes festival and in Europe in year 2018 but sadly before I could watch. Finally it came on Netflix in 2020 and what a storm it was: stayed at top 10 for weeks. One of the major reasons, I wanted to watch this movie was because of Tillotima Shome.
There are only a few actors whom I would like to call classy. Some are also very famous but a handful of these actors are timeless. Indian cinema categorized or boxed these actors as “Art Actors”, hinting “not for the masses”. You would know of the most famous ones like Deepti Naval, Seema Biswas, Nasiruddin Shah, Smita Patel, Shabana Azmi etc. They were boxed into this category of actors who could pull serious roles but they were not going to get big marketing fund. Regardless of these facts, they all managed to be the shiniest stars for movie & art lovers.
But sadly due to this typecasting many also did not see the success they deserved like Rahul Bose and may I say, Konkona Sen who in my opinion is the finest actress I have ever seen. But if you are the ‘Real Classy Movie Lover’ then you know that now is the best era for Indian cinema. Now, the kinds of actors we are able to see are like never before. Yes, they are probably still not the actors of masses but the population of their audience has increased 10 folds in the last decade. Now people love spending money on movies which are not all dhamaal and masti. There are so many who are now audiences favorite like late Irfan Khan, Rajkumar Rao, Nimrat Kaur, Radhika Apte, Rasika Duggal, Kalki Koechlin and Tillotima Shome.
Yes, finally coming back to our Tillotima Shome who is one of the finest actors of this decade. Did you know she is in Bollywood from long? . Remember Alice from Monsoon Wedding? Who else could have made Alice loveable like Tilotima did. I also loved her in Nandana sen’s video – India’s Got Color.
Lets Finally Talk About Sir
Its a story where our protagonist, Ashwin falls in love with his house maid, Ratna. That is it. This is the story.
AND, its nothing like any other love story you have seen in the longest time. So we have our protagonist and the antagonist, yes you guessed it right, is everything else – The society, norms, obvious class difference and their own beliefs. But its much more complicated than just that and a proof of that is the simplicity of characters. The rich are not evil and poor are not completely destitute. They just know that they do not fit together.
In a scene, Ashwin’s friend asks him very beautifully and subtly that ‘Does he think his mother would even sit at the same table as Ratna?’. This one sentence says it all. Its not that she will not be able to create a space for herself in his life but its simply unheard of and not possible. Its not just that she is a maid. Its the century of class difference that stands between them.
There are subtle things which shows the difference in both classes. Scenes like Ratna serving Ashwin cup of tea in a very nice cup in a fancy tray while she drinks from this typical Indian steel glass. While she serves Ashwin an array of health food choices, she sticks to her own daal chawal.
But they are more than just a maid and master-
Ratna is progressive and has big dreams. Ashwin is subtle, stable and wants more deeply from life. The best part of this movie for me was the mystery: When does he fall for her? I saw the movie twice just to capture that moment when Ashwin starts falling in love with her but I just could not find that moment. But this is how real life stories are right? There is no one big moment when someone falls for another person. Its a small seed of affection that grows into this big tree and all in a very slow and understated manner. The first moment I felt that he has fallen for her was when he gifts her that sewing machine and the way he is looking at her with dreamy eyes.
Overall, watching Sir was like standing on the terrace of that Mumbai high rise and watching the busy city pass by yet feeling an innate sense of calm inside.
And the music. There is something about having the right soundtrack. And surprisingly, at many times in the movie I felt the same feelings I felt while watching Monsson Wedding or Life of Pi. Maybe some piece of music was common in these three but I was not able to find it from google. Please enlighten me if anyone can.
Things I hated about Sir which actually are loveable facts-
- The perfection of Vivek Gomber: Ashwin was nothing but the perfect man of dreams. He is sincere, humble, polite, intelligent, creative, handsome and financially stable. I could not find even one characteristic that was anything less than perfect. He was the biggest myth of imagination. So far Indian Cinema or cinema in general portrays this flamboyant, fighter actor who can dance, fight the goons, save the girl and yet show a romantic side like no one can ever have in their life partners leaving all woman craving for that dream boat.
Ashwin was nothing like that but everything you would want from your ‘real’ life partner.
2) There is just one intimate scene in the movies and it definitely leaves the audience craving. I would have hated Ashwin if he would not have made that call at end. So, finally finished this story with a bigger craving of what will happen next. Will she move to USA and they will live a normal life? Will they ever make love? Will she ever visit his family as his wife? Will he complete his book?
I am leaving here with these cravings and wishing this wonderful movie – All the best!