The unlucky side-effect Seema Pahwa’s directorial debut Ram Prasad Ki Tehrvi suffers from is that it premiered (at Jio MAMI Mumbai Movie Pageant 2019) days after Shonali Bose’s household drama The Sky Is Pink. The frequent thread between each the movies is loss of life, and the influence it has on the caregiver.
Whereas the latter managed to create a battle by introducing two contrasting methods of coping with the loss of life of an in depth one (daughter on this case), the previous fails to maintain curiosity in its narrative. It solely leaves the central character of Supriya Pathak, after the loss of life of her husband (Seema’s mentor Naseeruddin Shah in a particular look), encounter a Baghban-like realisation that her sons and daughters-in-law solely fake to be emotionally related to the ageing mother and father.
When Ram Prasad (Shah) passes away through cardiac arrest, his 4 sons, together with their wives and kids go to the ancestral place to grieve along with his spouse. Because it occurs in small-town Indian households, the funeral takes place on the second day of loss of life however the prayer meets are prolonged to a chronic 13-day interval, a tad too lengthy for all of the members of the family who selected to guide their individual lives in different cities, away from their mother and father.
The tone of the movie is rarely capable of deep dive into both drama ( like Kapoor & Sons and The Sky Is Pink, and even Baghban for that matter) or comedy (which is a pity since Seema is outstanding at comedy). Because the tone oscillates between the two, it seems confused even after the movie has discovered its footing by way of the plot. Whereas doses of comedy and drama are there in flashes, they finally crop up as inherent items of a damaged narrative.
The one character one roots for is that of Supriya. However since that is an ensemble movie, different characters (members of her household) eat into her display screen time. It’s a travesty since she is immensely watchable as an actress, who seems too much less for the sheer magnitude of caliber she possesses. Be careful for a scene the place she is the pivot to her household’s red-handed mischief at a time when they’re presupposed to be grieving the patriarch’s loss. It saddens her, as she confesses later within the movie, however the feeling is made very evident by her loquacious expressions a lot early on.
Whereas there’s a host of gifted powerhouses like Seema’s husband Manoj Pahwa, Vinay Pathak, Parambrata Chatterjee, Konkona Sensharma, and Vikrant Massey however solely the final two stand out due to the shades lent to their characters. A number of the exchanges between the daughters-in-law are well-written however one wanted extra memorable and affecting characters like these of Supriya or Konkona. In actual fact, the equation shared by the two nice actresses is rarely explored a lot, and is relegated to the sidelines in a drama that would have been about way more than the interior clashes of a household. There is no such thing as a nuance to Seema’s portrayal of household politics. People who have lived in small cities for a big a part of their lives could have higher tales to inform.
Technically additionally, the movie fails to be an immersive expertise. That is probably due to the huge physique of labor Seema nonetheless boasts of in theatre. Having labored extensively in Naseerddin and Ratna Pathak Shah’s theatre group Motley Productions, and now coaching college students for stage every day, Seema’s therapy of the movie suffers from a looming theatre hangover. Greater than the pitch of the dialogues, the shortage of liberty a debut director ought to take with a 3-D medium like movie displays in Ram Prasad Ki Tehrvi. The cinematography (by Sudip Sengupta) begins on an important be aware, when the digicam, like a spirit or the Yamraj, stealthily making its means into Ram Prasad’s home towards the background rating of a piano.
The piano, or music generally, has been used as an efficient symbolic instrument right here. Ram Prasad insists, within the opening minutes of the movie, one should repair the defective be aware of a musical instrument as a result of it results in a hurdle in actual life as effectively. Whereas the rapid penalties would give the impression the hurdle is the loss of life of Ram Prasad, the climax reveals it was one thing else for which the loss of life was an crucial instrument. It’s a pretty optimistic lens to view loss of life via, nevertheless it wanted to have reverberations all through the narrative with a view to make the tip outcome extra profound and designed.
The modifying (Dipika Kalra) is as generic and formulaic as cinematography in most a part of the movie. Different aesthetic components, just like the background rating (Sagar Desai), the manufacturing design (Parijat Poddar), and the costume design (Darshan Jalan and Manish Tiwari) are additionally extra from the zone of theatre. All of them add to the feel of the movie however don’t even remotely push the envelope so far as filmmaking is worried.
Perhaps Seema ought to have taken a cue from her actor Konkona, who made an especially assured and immersive directorial debut in A Dying In The Gunj in 2016. To deal with a movie like a play, regardless of all the nice intentions and conditioning, comes throughout as a disservice to each the mediums.