Since I first saw the trailer, Sir has been on the list of the films that I definitely wanted to watch. The whirlwind of a year that was 2020 made us forget about a lot of things, but yesterday I chanced upon it on Netflix. An hour-and half-long crisp film, it will keep you hooked. Very few Indian films have been able to depict as poignantly how “economic status” so intrinsically governs our romantic choices. The film asks “Is Love Enough?” as an awkward but emotional relationship brews between the US returned ‘Sir’ and his young widowed ‘maid’. How easy is it for us to break these deeply entrenched-class barriers even if we believe that we stand for equality? Can our dependence on our house helps ever give way to equal friendships? What happens if it starts bordering on romance?
The film is thought-provoking and touches upon very sensitive issues but remains understated and non-preachy.
The movie opens with Ratna (Tillotama Shome) being summoned back to work at her Sir’s home. Her “Sir” Ashwin (Vivek Gomber), we learn has called off his engagement after learning that his fiancé cheated on him. It is interesting how the one wall of separation between the perfectly decorated master bedroom and the cramped servant quarter so wonderfully brings out the chasm between the worlds of Ashwin and Ratna.
Also Watch: Our interview with Tillotama Shome:
You think you are liberal…but yet… you live in a world that can't imagine two people falling in love across class. @tillotamashome talks with @shailichopra on how the film Sir is raising important questions through a love story. pic.twitter.com/EruDCLBzI7
— SheThePeople (@SheThePeople) January 13, 2021
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The two are at two extreme ends of the social spectrum. Initially, even within the four walls, their worlds do not meet, Ashwin’s responses to Ratna are monosyllabic. Ratna, in order to cheer him up, says “life khatam nahi hoti hai sir”. She goes on to explain how parents, whether in the village or the city, are always in a hurry to marry their kids. How she was married off as a teenager and was widowed at 19. And even if she is a widow and a domestic helper, she is independent and funding her younger sister’s education. Ratna stands for hope but is realistic. She aspires to be a fashion designer someday. Her pride in her economic independence and being self-made makes you instantly respect her. Ashwin is a misfit in the world of people born with a silver spoon in their mouth. He doesn’t carry entitlement as a chip on his shoulder. We see Ashwin standing up to many of his entitled friends when they are disrespectful to Ratna.
Gradually, the arch of Ratna and Ashwin’s relationship changes. We see Ratna understanding the unsaid when she lies on the phone for Ashwin and clumsily tries to hide the returned wedding gifts before her “Sir” returns. Their worlds within the house start mixing. Ashwin starts walking more freely into the kitchen and having longer conversations with Ratna.
Rohena Gera Speaks to SheThePeople:
You wait for what may happen between the two when they are alone and feel edgy as to how that gets revealed in public. Ashwin begging to not call him “sir” is heart-breaking. Their love story is not the one where a damsel in distress is swept off her feet by a knight in shining armour. However, Ratna is worldly-wise and takes the reins of her life in her hands. Ratna needs to carve out an independent identity as does Ashwin who has sharp differences with his dad in the way he runs his business.
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The film is thought-provoking and touches upon very sensitive issues but remains understated and non-preachy. The terrace plays an important role in calling for personal freedom. The film ends on many “what ifs”. Watch it, I think Rohena Gera gets it spot on.
The views expressed are the author’s own.