Sir (2018) | Critics’ Week 2018

May 16th, 2018
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: Rohena Gera | Drama | India | 97′

Documentarian Rohena Gera’s fiction debut is a refreshing and delicately drawn character drama, a love story that takes place in modern day Mumbai between two likeable people from opposite ends of the social spectrum, one is rich the other poor.    

Ratka is a young widow whose dicey new single status has for forced her to find work in the city. So she moves from her rural village to work as housekeeper for a wealthy young man whose wedding has recently been called off. “Sir” is clearly feeling emotional and Ratka suggests to his mother that the wedding presents be kept in her room to spare him further heartache. There they fester as a constant reminder of his and her marital failure.

The lovelorn Ashwin is gradually soothed by Ratka’s kind and thoughtful personality, so different from the spoilt prima donnas from his own milieu. Impressed by her drive and ambition to become a tailor, he offers her time out to train. His own work as a writer seems like a vanity project in contrast and most of his time is spent lolling around feeling sorry for himself and secretly ashamed at his lack of ambition.

Gera makes great use of Mumbai’s pulsing metropolis as a backdrop for the pair’s palpable chemistry as sexual tension slowly catches fire between them. But Ratka’s personality is the stronger of the two and Gera takes time to flesh out her emotional qualities and sparky intelligence leaving Ashwin as a rather one-dimensional cypher with only the machismo consistent with his status to define him. Clearly something’s gotta give, and in order to bring these two together between the sheets in an elegant manner Gera has to employ a narrative device that ends up being unconvincing. That said, SIR is a watchable film and was justly awarded a prize at the Cannes Critics’ Week sidebar. MT


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