Monthly Archives: October 2014

Film Review: Margarita With a Straw

Rhea Ranjan

28th October 2014

By no means a love story and by no means an over-preachy issue driven piece, as the title may suggest, ‘Margarita with a Straw is a complex story about a young girl from Delhi, her life, her family and her cerebral palsy. The film’s plot is refreshingly free of overdone drama, as some issue-driven films from India tend to be; as is the camerawork and music. The poignant silences add to the intensity created by the facial close ups and blurred backgrounds, allowing serious focus on the actors’ subtle movements and expressions. Just like the star actress, Kalki Koechlin, the film is delicate in its details and story line and tugs gently at multiple heartstrings – not just those in support of support for the disabled and/or those in favour of the LGBT community. The relationship with ‘Ai’ acts as the main ‘moral to the story’. When Ai accepts Laila’s bisexuality upon her deathbed, the real meaning of the film becomes clear – family and love are far more important than labels of disability and sexuality!

Kalki brings a sense of innocence to the role of Laila with her huge smile and acting abilities in portraying cerebral palsy and still bring out such a beautiful personality in her character. While the disability aspect forms the basis of the film, it is not the centre point and neither is the issue of bisexuality. The centre point of the film is Laila, her personality and what she represents to any and everyone. Through this the film is not about a girl’s battle with a disability or with sexual norms. Laila represents some form of innocent resilience to everyone and presents them with the familiar feeling of hope once known in childhood. The film’s symbolic title is a constant theme, from her mother handing her drinks in the mug and straw to the final scene. It serves to cement the director’s story completely as the straw is transformed from a disability to Laila’s signature and symbol of her uniqueness and strength.

A must watch for any lover of good cinema. Margarita with a straw is by far one of the better movies to come out of India in quite a while. Kudos to director Shonali Bose for such a fine piece of work! A most definite must-watch.

Our Rating: 4.5/5