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Happy endings


That Girl in Yellow Boots

Rating: 3

September 02, 2011

Cast: Kalki Koechlin, Prashant Prakash, Gulshan Devaiah, Puja Sarup, Naseeruddin Shah

Director: Anurag Kashyap

Appearances can be misleading, as you see in the case of Ruth, played by Kalki Koechlin in That Girl in Yellow Boots. On the outside, Ruth seems like just another foreigner navigating herself through the usual red tape you witness at the immigration office. Yet, peel the layers, and you discover a half-British, half-Indian girl who has come to Mumbai on a mission – amongst the millions of anonymous faces in the city, she is searching for her father.

Beneath that calm exterior, Ruth is in turns vulnerable and resolute. She makes her money by giving out happy endings in a seedy massage parlor, but finds herself often used by her parasitic druggie boyfriend. As Ruth fights for survival in a dark corner of this urban landscape, That Girl in Yellow Boots attempts to put the audience through an emotional wringer too. But while director Anurag Kashyap gives you a bunch of riveting scenes, realistically flawed character sketches, and even light, comical quirks in this bleak drama, it’s tough to stay with Ruth through her journey because That Girl in Yellow Boots becomes predictable subsequently, and loses its initial momentum.

One of the stumbling blocks is the protagonist’s relationship with her boyfriend (played by Prashant Prakash). You find yourself losing interest through a prolonged sequence where Ruth tries to break his drug addiction by handcuffing him in her tiny apartment. Yet, there are touches that are quintessentially Kashyap. The cinematography and sound design help build the world in which she lives, so you feel like a spectator looking in. The audience is thrown a bunch of red herrings as you wonder who Ruth’s father really is; and even when the director presents some morally reprehensible characters, he leaves you to do the judging.

The best bits in the film come from smaller roles. Puja Sarup is wonderful as the massage parlor receptionist who constantly chats inanities into her mobile phone. Watch how she gabs on at one point about star signs, even while Ruth is trying to come to grips with her life. Gulshan Devaiah also offers a fantastic portrayal of a small-time Kannada gangster Chitiappa who knows very well how to issue threats and steal Ruth’s entire savings, but fumbles about with a television remote. Naseeruddin Shah brings warmth through his role as Ruth’s only considerate customer, and Kalki Koechlin holds her own in the central part. She’s often touching as the conflicted Ruth, trying to keep afloat despite the emotional upheaval.

Kashyap, who co-wrote the film with Koechlin, closes with a bold climax that uncovers the disturbing issue that the film addresses, but he doesn’t go for an easy resolution. I’m going with three out of five for That Girl in Yellow Boots. Even if the story itself leaves you wanting more, the storytelling makes you go the distance.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)

12 Responses to “Happy endings”

  1. Sonali says:

    I watched d movie just today
    And i think it was way boring , monotonous , and predictable.
    The issue of incests was not handled properly
    The director , it seems was relying on kalki’s primary job
    One word – DISAPPOINTED
    although prashant ,maya , n chitiyapa were very good

  2. Krishna says:

    Atleast Anuraag Kashyap & his team brings something new to us. Some people are good and old enough to understand. Dont understand why it has to be always the same everytime. Hurts when 1.4billion populated countries slowness of growth in, almost everything!!!!

  3. Janice says:

    I love Anurag’s style and techniques. The movie wasn’t a phenomenal one, but definitely a really good one! I, for one, love that it addresses some very real, untalked about issues, while at the same time manages to entertain without being melodramatic. The characters are all well picked and well directed (because that’s what it takes to bring out the best in even the leading stars).

    3 half on 5 from me.

  4. Rajan Desai says:

    ya i am also agree with you Rajeev but i don’t know how you analyze everything about movies in such a perfects way! hats of to you.

  5. agree. the movie was monotonous at times, but then, Kashyap used his characters efficiently. But Naseeruddin’s love for Kalki, the on-your-face humor of Gulshan Devaiah, the crazy boyfriend of Kalki, fit in beautifully in the movie. The movie’s implied to be disturbing, the theme is implied to be dystopic. and at the end, to me, the movie did justice to the idea for which it was made. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. saurabh ekapure says:

    its good movie.good effort by anurag kashyap.4 and out of 5 from me.

  7. Ganesh Rai says:

    lot more better than Bodyguard………

  8. Kalki Koechlin is the new generation of Indian actress who is so wonderful, natural, and in roles other than the very serious and subtle roles in movies like Chandni Bar, Bavandar or Water. Konkana Sen faces some real competition.

    Puja Sarup, again, is simply too good.

    The film leaves one miserably sad, what if it were a little predictable. Realistic movies are predictable, aren’t they?
    The creative, off-the-leak framing sets a milestone for Indian cinema. Kalki smoking the Sun, Wowwwwwwwwww!!!!
    Costumes, of course are suitable.

    Music compliments the movie, instead of having a separate identity of its own, which is again a big plus point.
    That girl in yellow boots is a poignant movie which could not be missed by any lover of good cinema. 3.5-4 out of 5.

  9. vikram says:

    brilliant movie….
    not a great one though….
    but certainly better than the current line up of hindi ones that have hit the theatres.
    3/5 from me too

  10. vikram says:

    Kalki’s helpless looks, Naseeruddin shah’s care, Gulshan Devaiah’s humor/brutal appearance…..awesome combo
    i really enjoyed those kannada jokes….what a portrayal of a small time crook! ๐Ÿ˜€ wow!
    “bisi bisi kajjaaya” and “eef you come today” also “like Upendra’s picture, puzzle only!” ha ha…..

  11. anirban says:

    apart from puja swarop ,the movie dissapoints..

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