Films | Movie Reviews | For Real-Review

For Real-Review

Posted by barkha on September 21, 2010 | No Comments

She glides through a field of yellow flowers. Her green saree ablaze with love, the field ablaze with light. Her long hair her totem and her touch her haven of comfort.

This is the image that little Shruti holds close to her heart. The vision of her mother in her green saree and long lustrous hair in a beautiful field of yellow flowers holding her close to her chest.
This is not the reality she is living with.

But this is not because of a refracted mentality or psychological disease. This is a result of a stray incident Shruti is witness to between her parents, by adult standards normal, but compelling enough to her eyes to take her mother away from her forever. She starts believing her real mother has abandoned her and left behind another woman, her look-alike to look after her. Her unnatural behaviour troubles the family and increases the tension her parents try hard to keep under control. But pain borne of suppressed conflicts always burst forth, bringing closures in its wake, good and bad.

Film – For Real
Producer – Sona Jain
Director – Sona Jain
Cast – Sarita Chaudhury, Adil Hussain, Zoya Hassan, Sameer Dharmadhikari, Sriharsh Sharma
Writer – Sona Jain
Music – Zakir Hussein

Sona Jain’s For Real treads this sensitive territory of familial discord and personal emotional trauma. In discordant families, in real or reel life, the most neglected and affected are the children. The scars that they form on their tender psyches due to the pain and sadness around them, are usually never understood or noticed. For Real not only notices it but understands it deeply and sensitively.

For Real is woven around a vignette in the lives of the Shuklas, an urban upper middle class family in NCR. It is this condensed but significant chapter of their lives that allows for a close and paced look at the emotional layers of each member and the intricacies of their relationships. Although structured around the general idea of a regular nuclear family, the relationships take on a deeper meaning and hue with the special characterisation of the mother Priya who is shown to be an enigmatic woman who seems to be suffering hidden heart-aches that refuse to stay quiet. The father, an extension of the archetypal supportive yet career-oriented man is portrayed as sensitive and loving but not without his own disabilities. The little children, girl (Zoya Hassan) and boy Paras (Sriharsh Sharma) are endearing in their innocent bantering and sibling bonding. However, the tense undercurrents of what the parents share is a constant presence disturbing the fragile atmosphere of the household.

In this prickly peace also co-exists a psychiatrist friend of the Shuklas (Sameer Dharmadhakari), an important part in the jigsaw puzzle of complicated relationships and perceptions of love. His presence and Shruti’s interpretation of him throws a curious but not absurd spin on the whole affair. The engagement of the writer/director with her subject and theme provokes feeling and thought and a sense of depth that is a rarity to encounter.

However, there are strands that touch a superficial in their construction. The characterisations fluctuate between psychologically deep yet inane, from deeply-felt to under-studied. The theme, the tone and the performances all suffer due to this.

A special mention needs to go to maestro Zakir Hussain and his mellifluous unobtrusive music that flows through as much as the film does, uneffortlessly even when non-linear.

Pieced together in a back and forth narrative that resolves itself in the end, For Real makes for an absorbing viewer experience. Realism meets poetry in a muted fashion and it is delightful to encounter unpretentious and mature treatment to a children-centric, woman-centric English-speaking Indian film. A rarity indeed. It fails to touch or stir up emotional chords because of the alien-ness of those emotions in English, which in an Indian setting still sound un-relatable. But the sensibility is mature and intelligent, a treat in itself. An applaudable effort.

Fatema H.Kagalwala

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