Bonnie

…Tillotama Shome in A Death In The Gunj

Every time I watch Konkona Sensharma’s A Death In The Gunj, I take out something different from it. Every single time I’ve had a bias towards some other character, I like some scene more than another, I fall in love with just another dialogue. But what doesn’t change is my love for Sensharma’s writing. When I watched the film today, I fell in love with Tillotatma Shome’s Bonnie. 

Bonnie is a kind of person we would meet in our everyday life. She’s a protective mother, the perfect daughter-in-law, a loving wife and an amazing friend, whether to Mimi or Vikram or Brian or even Shutu for that matter. She has a beautiful collection of sarees and shawls, she smokes with a kind of sass and ease at the same time which is tough to pull. Konkona seems to have taken a lot of time (and done a lot of research) while writing this character. And even though, all of us have a Bonnie in our lives, there is something different about Sensharma’s Bonnie. 

What works best for this character is the impeccable acting by Tillotama Shome. I had perhaps fallen in love with her craft in Monsoon Wedding. She’s recently played powerful roles in Qissa and Hindi Medium as well. Though her role in Hindi Medium is short, she owns the screen even when Irrfan Khan is on screen. Shome has always had a hold over the character she plays, no matter what she plays. Even in ADITG, Shome plays Bonnie like no one else could have. Even though I felt that Priyanka Bose and Sensharma herself would have played this character with equal ease, but Shome brings a certain texture to Bonnie that maybe just she could have. The raising of eyebrows, the (so natural) laughter at the dinner table, the tears in her eyes when Tani is lost, the irritation on her face when Mimi isn’t done cutting the tomatoes, everything is done with a kind of natural grace that we don’t see so regularly in Hindi Cinema. 

Basically, Bonnie, you have my heart! 

Hindi Medium: 1 run short of a century

Here’s a film you cannot miss…

Has human greed overpowered our emotions so much that we cannot look behind materialistic instincts? Hindi Medium is the answer to the same. The story is everything you saw in the trailer, no surprises here. As the title suggests, the film doesn’t deal with the problem of Hindi-English in our country alone. It also talks about greed, poverty and how a poor man’s life is better than a rich man’s; how his heart is bigger than a rich man’s. So Irrfan Khan and Saba Qamar want to get their daughter admitted to the biggest, most popular and elite school of New Delhi, The Delhi Grammar School (which is, by the way, Modern School). And to get this done, jaan laga dete hai yeh log. They even pretend to be poor, to get admission through gareeb quota. 

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Now this story is very relatable. I’ve studied in one of the top 10 prestigious schools in our country (not bragging) and I thank my parents for that. But there were students in my class who had taken admission through the gareeb quota. Now I don’t really know about the atrocities against them, but of course there was a difference between them and us. Like, we did not create a difference or think that they weren’t a part of us, but the differences were just there and unspoken of.

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Back to the film. This film is just almost there. One more step and ‘yay, victory’! Where the film lacks from being a 10/10 is the second half, which, by the way, is the best they could have done. Though it is a little stretched, and I am not complaining at all. Had that extra bit been a little edited, this would have been a century. So now, it’s a run out at 99!

What makes the movie so perfect is the acting! Irrfan Khan will never ever fail to stun you. Is there anything that this man cannot do? No! His dialogue delivery is perfect, comic timing is perfect, dancing is also perfect and so is his romance! Matlab kuch galat nahi karta hai banda. Saba Qamar is a perfect find! This woman has acted in many Pakistani TV shows and Urdu films and is oh-so-talented. She catches hold of every single nuance of Meeta’s character with ease. There also is my favourite, Deepak Dobrial. Mann karta hai jaake ek jhappi le lu bande ki. He is so so so talented that there is no limit. His comic timing, serious dialogues, laughing, crying, all are brilliant! Swati Das makes her debut with Hindi Medium in a supporting role and is, like everyone else, perfect! She gets her accent on point and nails it while playing a poor man’s wife. There even is Tillotama Shome. I last saw Shome in A Death in the Gunj and she plays even this character, of a consulting agent, with equal panache! Dishita Sehgal plays Pia and even she is perfect! And, I couldn’t have asked for a better Principal than Amrita Singh.

The writing of Hindi Medium is crisp. Nothing is overdone, nothing remains underdone. The screenplay is how good screenplays are written. Here are my two favourite dialogues:

“Na aegi khushi, na rahega ghum…”

“Humare paas hai hi kya, dau pe lagane ke lie?”

-Deepak Dobrial

All in all, Hindi Medium is a film you should all watch, specially young parents.

If I had to rate the film, 25% seats are reserved for the poor, in good schools and the rich want them too. Think about it, we all have a role to play!