Once Again

The story revolves around a widowed restaurant owner and a famous actor, both in their middle age. A slow but beautiful depiction of their dilemmas and quest to find companionship and love ”once again”, at cross roads with inhibitions and social norms.

Writer/Director – Kanwal Sethi

Cast- Shefali Shah, Neeraj Kabi, Rasika Duggal, Bidita Bag, Priyanshu Painyulli

Plot

The film opens to show Tara (Shefali) and Arun (Neeraj) in a beautiful “telephonic relationship” for sometime now.

She’s a widow, lonely at heart, runs a restaurant, loves her children, is struggling with finances for the marriage of her son, looks forward to Arun’s calls and conversations but is not comfortable with taking the relationship forward.

He’s a famous actor, has had a bad divorce, loves his daughter, is extremely lonely at heart, seeks companionship and is keen to meet Tara.

Their quest for love, inhibitions and dilemmas might be similar but their lives are different. Watch the film to see where their journey takes them.

Analysis

I would like to begin with the most striking thing about this film and that is Shefali Shah.

She’s the heart and soul and her spectacular performance dazzles every frame that she’s in.

Clad in the simplest of cotton sarees, in a minimal look, adorned by those gorgeous eyes of her, shining with expressions and emotions, she makes it worth your while despite the meandering pace of the film.

The seasoned actress that she is, she portrays beautifully every complex emotion that Tara goes through.

Neeraj Kabi, as the restrained and subtle Arun Kumar is good.

Kanwal sethi creates this film like an oddessey that has a pace and beauty of its own.

It felt nice to see a subtle love story unfolding in old fashioned style; the telephone conversations, the waiting for the phone call bit, the craving to meet, the withholding inhibitions, the shy meetings, the dilemma of taking it forward, the fear of social norms.

His frames linger, on expressions, conversations, feelings, spaces and silences.

On the flip side, I would say that the film falls short of taking you on an emotional high despite terrific performances and premise. The dialogues and script fall short of touching the raw nerves. I felt it had the potential though. It is like a beautiful slow journey that never picks up pace but has it’s own charm.

Those who like subtle immersive relationship dramas and those who find Shefali Shah’s spectacular charm irresistible, could give this one a go.

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