Margarita With A Straw Movie Review

Margarita With A Straw Movie Review

There have been many films in the past that have dealt with the lives of ‘specially able’ people. Prominent amongst them are films like Aamir Khan’s TAARE ZAMEEN PAR (Dyslexia), PAA (Progeria), BARFI! (Autism), MY NAME IS KHAN (Asperger’s Syndrome) and a handful of others. While most of these films have either made an impact at the Box-Office commercially or have ‘earned’ rave reviews, this week’s release MARGARITA WITH A STRAW deals with a sensitive issue like ‘Cerebral palsy’. Will this film be as appreciated as the aforementioned films or will it land up biting the dust at the box office, lets analyze.

Shubhangini (Revathy)’s life revolves around her son Monu (Malhar Khushu), husband Baljit (Kuljeet Singh) and her wheelchair bound daughter Laila (Kalki Koechlin), who suffers from cerebral palsy. However, Laila, a strong headed girl, doesn’t let that ‘handicap’ word obstruct her from penning soul stirring lyrics for her rock band. Laila yearns to be counted amongst the ‘normal’ people and lands up dumping her boyfriend Dhruv (Hussain Dalal) because he is handicapped and even she shows her middle finger to the judges of a rock show amidst a huge audience because they decide to give her band the first prize, only because, the lyrics were written by a ‘handicapped person’. As time passes by, Laila gradually falls in love with one of her band member Nima (Tenzing Dalha) but when he doesn’t reciprocate her feelings, her world comes crashing down. Life moves on as Laila decides to start afresh when she shifts with her mother for her creative writing course at NYU. Love blossoms yet again for Laila, who starts developing feelings for her classmate Jared (William Moseley), with whom she eventually gets physical. However, there comes a twist, when her blind room partner Khanum (Sayani Gupta) confesses that she is gay and that she loves her immensely. Reluctant at first, Laila also gradually starts developing a liking for Khanum and they both land up getting intimate with each other. That’s when Laila realizes that she is bisexual, who is torn between the battle of two sexes and sexual preferences. Gathering all the courage and confidence, she confesses to her mother about her sexual orientations. Life however gets topsy-turvy for Laila when she discovers a startling truth about her mother. Does Shubhangini accept her daughter’s sexual orientation and cope up with the same, what is the truth about Shubhangini that shocks Laila terribly, does Laila ultimately get settled with Khanum, Jared or Dhruv or a ‘different’ person altogether… is what forms the rest of the film.

Right from the word go, the film takes you into a world of its own. And the only person to be credited for this is its director Shonali Bose, who had earlier directed the Konkona Sen Sharma starrer AMU. With MARGARITA WITH A STRAW, Shonali takes a giant leap in terms of storytelling and directing. When it comes to films like these, wherein the protagonist is suffering from a physical disorder, it becomes the total responsibility of the director to extract a convincing performance from the cast and Shonali manages that quite well. Full points to her for handling the film sensitively! Even though the film is slow paced, Shonali, manages to make it power packed. MARGARITA WITH A STRAW is one of the very few films where the silences and the pauses create more impact than the dialogues. Shonali really needs to be applauded for shooting the sex scenes without making it look vulgar or cheap.

As far as the actors are concerned, the film belongs to Kalki Koechlin completely. The conviction with which she portrays the role of a cerebral palsy affected Laila is absolutely stunning. One has to applaud her for choosing this challenging role, leaving aside her inhibitions. The second tower house performer in the film is definitely Revathy. She is absolutely a sheer delight to watch especially in sequences wherein she puts up a brave face in front of her family, despite fighting her inner unspoken pains and sufferings. She is not just a pillar to her daughter but to the film as the whole. Sayani Gupta, as a performer is good but her character is not convincing enough. The rest of the characters viz., Kuljeet Singh, Malhar Khushu, Hussain Dalal, Tenzing Dalha, William Moseley and others are good in their respective parts.

The music (Mikey McCleary) is definitely one of the film’s highlights. The film’s music acts as a bridge to connect the audiences with the film. While the cinematography (Anne Misawa) exudes its own charm, the editing (Monisha R Baldawa) acts as a key factor in the film.

On the whole, MARGARITA WITH A STRAW is decent film but it will struggle at the box-office as it caters to a very niche segment of the audience.
The Rating
2 out of 5
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