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Review Marathi

Photo Prem review: Short, bittersweet take on a woman's struggle to get the perfect snap

Release Date: 31 Oct 2018 / 01hr 33min

Read in: Marathi

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Suyog Zore

Neena Kulkarni delivers an excellent performance as a camera-shy housewife in this simple slice-of-life film by Aditya Rathi and Gayatri Patil.

In today's era, when most of our smartphone memory is filled with selfies and groupfies, you rarely come across someone who hates to be photographed. Maai aka Sunanda (Neena Kulkarni) from Aditya Rathi and Gayatri Patil's first directorial venture Photo Prem is one such person. The 55-year-old housewife is so camera-shy that she even finds excuses to not getting clicked during the wedding of her daughter Mayuri (Pradnya Jawle-Edke).

Maai gets anxious, her facial muscles stiffen, every time someone comes up with a camera. At a time when every little moment in our lives, sad, happy or indifferent, has been stored digitally, Maai doesn't have a single decent photograph of hers, and she is not concerned about it either.

But her perspective changes when she attends a friend's funeral and sees the family struggling to find one good photograph of the deceased. Maai also starts wondering how future generations of her family will identify her. What if everyone forgets about her existence?

She goes through all the family photo albums and is disappointed. And thus begins her quest to have the perfect photo clicked. But it's easier said than done, especially for someone like Sunanda. She attends random funeral ceremonies, reads obituaries and even pays a visit to the local photo studio to understand the process of being clicked.

Aditya Rathi and Gayatri Patil, who have also written the screenplay for the film, have made a simple and sweet film that keeps you engaged throughout its short 93 minute runtime.

Sunanda’s internal monologues reveal her frustration at being taken for granted and her funny side when she makes sarcastic comments. The film is at its best when it explores her inner conflicts and her struggle to come to terms with her camera consciousness. Veteran Neena Kulkarni is brilliant in both funny and emotional scenes. The actress features in almost every scene and carries the movie with her excellent performance.

Kaushal Inamdar's music suits the mood of the film perfectly. Avinash Sonavane's camerawork lends it the laidback, slice-of-life feel.

The film has some minor issues. Primarily, it is too simplistic. Despite having ample opportunities, the film does not delve deeper into how Maai's camera shyness is related to being taken for granted by her family, especially her husband. At one point, you feel the film might go the English Vinglish (2012) way, but then the idea gets dropped.

Despite these shortcomings, Photo Prem is a decent movie, one that you can enjoy without having to think too much.

Photo Prem was premiered on Amazon Pime Video on 7 May.

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