That Girl in Yellow Boots- Movie Review
Posted by barkha on September 2, 2011 | No Comments
FILM – That Girl in Yellow Boots
PRODUCER – Anurag Kashyap
DIRECTOR – Anurag Kashyap
WRITER – Anurag Kashyap, Kalki Koechlin
CAST – Kalki Koechlin, Prashant Prakash, Gulshan Devaiya, Naseeruddin Shah,
MUSIC – Naren Chandavarkar
Realism is never sugar-coated. Real life is crude and grimy, coated with tears, sweat, semen and even blood. Anurag Kashyap has never shied away from this darkness, even delving deeper into the dismal swamp we sometimes call life. He does the same with his thriller, ‘That Girl in Yellow Boots’.
There is a marshland named Mumbai which the protagonist Ruth is struggling to survive in search of her father. An English girl with an Indian father, she is the object of lust and seat of all popular stereotypes. But she is gutsy and unapologetic. She works at a massage parlour and earns some money on the side by giving willing customers handjobs, what she ironically calls ‘happy ending’. She survives a drug addict abusive boyfriend Prashant (Prashant Prakash) and other exploitative men which she meets around every corner. She won’t let the city swallow her so she feeds the system with its red tape and dark desires to get what she wants – clues to where her father is.
It is a portrait of a heartless city that Kashyap paints and within this the vulnerability of Ruth stands out. Kalki wonderfully brings out Ruth’s vulnerability with a brittle strength, a front so many of us wear to keep us from hurting more. The genuinety of her smile is touching when she interacts with Divakar (Naseeruddin Shah), her only male customer who doesn’t objectify her and even calls her ‘beti’. Her front dissolves with her plucky female boss Maya, a brilliant Pooja Swaroop as they share a real bond wrought of female strength and identification.
What might look like a one-woman show is strongly supported by two sparkling actors in Pooja Swaroop and Gulshan Devaiah (Kannadiga ganglord Chitiappa). There is a brilliant honesty and carefree-ness with which they wear their roles. Completely absorbing and remarkably enjoyable.
As Ruth journeys on, the camera captures her world with hand-held graininess. Shadows and contrasts almost become metaphors of her life rather than being mere mood-creators. Rajiv Ravi exploits the digital medium with imagination to bring out the colours and colourlessness of Ruth’s life with a slanted narrative of its own.
As with all his films, Kashyap creates a whole, tangible world intuitively using art design and music to tell a compelling story of loss, pain and survival. Wasiq Khan balances that edge of grunge and discomfort with realism as Naren Chandavarkar’s music dips and bursts to engage us with Ruth emotionally.
Hers is a world we like to shut our eyes to but as the film’s climax defines, there are no easy answers to life. It is an uneasy film to watch but creatively abundant.