Film: Once Again
Cast: Neeraj Kabi, Shefali Shah, Priyanshu Painyuli, Bidita Baig, Rasika Duggal, Bhagwan Tiwari, Mridanalini Rawal
Director: Kanwal Sethi
Rating: * * *
A sensitively handled, evocatively performed adult love story that steals its romantic conceit from ‘Lunchbox,’ this film directed by Kanwal Sethi is basically about two disparate individuals in search of love and companionship now that their responsibilities to family and children are more or less a done deed.
Tara (Shefali Shah), a lonely widow who runs her own dabba catering business is in the throes of wedding prep for her son Dev (Priyanshu Painyuli) – who doesn’t like to see his middle-aged mother in a romantic clinch with a man. Her daughter (Bidita Baig), on the other hand, reserves judgment and is secretly encouraging of her mother’s attempts to foster friendship with popular actor/star Amar Kumar (Neeraj Kabi). Recently divorced Amar craves companionship, but is unwilling to give a clear definition to his relationship with Tara.
Therein lies the conflict. The relationship starts off tentatively in a series of telephonic conversations that highlight the acute loneliness faced by the two lonely protagonists. The development is slow, meditative and meaningful. The actors steal the show here. Both Neeraj and Shefali give heartfelt performances while Priyanshu, Bidita, Mridanalini as the soon-to-be daughter-in-law, Rasika Duggal as Amar’s daughter and Bhagwan Tiwari as his driver/assistant, lend grit and poignancy to the narrative embellished by sharp editing, perfect sound direction, Eeshit Narayan’s glittering camerawork and mellifluous music by Talvin Singh. A worthy love story this!