New Delhi, 03 May 2019 15:00 IST
Featuring Soni Razdan in her first lead role, the film traces the emotional life of a woman in her late fifties as she contemplates her situation and engagement with the world.
Directed by Sanjoy Nag, Yours Truly is an adaptation of a short story, ‘The One That Was Announced’, from the book Love Stories #1 TO 14 by Annie Zaidi. The film explores the solitary life of a woman in her late fifties who lives on the outskirts of the city of Kolkata. Starring Soni Razdan in her first lead role, the film also features Pankaj Tripathi, Aahana Kumra, and veteran filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt in a special appearance.
Set in contemporary times, the film traces the everyday life of a government employee, Mithi Kumar (Soni Razdan), as she carries on her mundane routine of doing a monotonous office job, where time seems to drip like molasses and collect in puddles.
Carrying on her tedious daily commute from her home to office and back, there is only one thing that offers her a silver lining, the announcer’s voice at the station - a faceless voice she has been connected to amidst the hustle and bustle of the daily commuters at the station. This voice becomes her only companion, a cherished secret, as she imagines the voice speaking only to her and embarks on an emotional journey, writing letters to the announcer, revealing bits about herself, and hoping to meet the person behind the microphone someday.
Mithi lives on the edge of the bustling city of Kolkata and on living on the margins, society has forgotten about her as well, as it often tends to do for people of a certain age. As a stark contrast to the reclusive Mithi, is Laali (Aahana Kumra), her effervescent younger sister, pulsating with life and all that it has to offer. But while Laali’s life is filled with possibilities, Mithi’s seems to have faded and passed her by, yet the embers of desire remain.
Mithi’s tenants, who live one level below her home, offer a foil to the staid life she leads with their domesticity and robust sex life. There are also certain undercurrents between the husband, played by a grossly under-utilized Vijay (Pankaj Tripathi), and Mithi, underscoring the themes of loneliness, love and desire.
With the epistolary relationship at the heart of the film, Yours Truly navigates the realms of societal expectations, with Mithi peering longingly into what might have been, yet she refuses to be bitter, opting for a weary submission instead. The filmmaker also experiments with the soundscape, offering an interplay between voiceovers and dialogue, adding a layer to the protagonist’s emotions.
Nag goes to great lengths to make us contemplate Mithi’s life, etching out the crevices of Mithi’s life in painstaking details, where the fug of her home and everyday routine is palpable. However, the slow pondering of her life and interactions with society tend to become repetitive and we are only allowed glimpses into Mithi’s life without a fully etched out understanding of her situation and circumstances.
It is a joy to see Soni Razdan on screen and one hopes to see her in subsequent films with meaty roles. One also hopes to see robust and finely etched characters of a certain age and their stories in Hindi cinema.
Yours Truly premiered at the Busan International Film Festival and was screened at the Kolkata International Film Festival, in 2018. It won the Critics' award for Best Hindi Film at the Rajasthan International Film Festival 2019.
Yours Truly is available online on the Zee5 digital platform from 3 May 2019.
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