A gratifying directorial masterpiece that’ll leave you pondering about the power of love.
By Muskan Shah
Warning: spoilers ahead!
For years, Bollywood has explored the trope of star- crossed lovers from rival societies destined to be together; overcoming obstacles to end in a happily ever after. This arc has been portrayed in many forms, from comedy to drama to mystery, but none quite as tender as director Rohena Gera’s 2018 film, Is Love Enough? Sir that was recently released on Netflix. Challenging the caste prejudice and inequality heavily entrenched inIndian society, Gera prioritises telling a love story in a practical, relatable matter rather than trying to inject as much mindless entertainment as we’ve seen with Bollywood’s rom-com stereotypes.
The story follows Ratna (Tillotama Shome), a widowed servant from a village. She works for Ashwin (Vivek Gomber), a wealthy architect who lives in Mumbai, who just called off his marriage. Coming from two worlds, completely poles apart, the only parlance the two have share takes the form of three words: ‘thank you’ and ‘sorry’. However, despite their differences, one can see the respect and care they have for each other, communicated through simple actions throughout the film.
As the film progresses, the audience is made to understand that love is more than just romanticising the idea of two people being together forever, it’s a journey that requires resilience and patience. Often one is perturbed by the prospect of watching a story of a servant and boss, but Gera’s careful direction doesn’t even, for a moment, bring discomfort or sense of scandal. Both Shome and Gomber’s acting elevate the story to newheights with the restraint they show, letting moments of silence and mere emotions shine through rather than only relying on dialogue.
While it’s debatable if a wealthy heir falling in love with a less affluent woman is a fantasy situation not often seen in real life, the story that forms around the two characters makes their bond believable. One beautifully-depicted idea is the concept of individuality in love. Even though we see Ratna and Ashwin as one, the story highlights that they are two individuals who also lead separate lives and battle separate challenges, such as Ratna’s dream to become a fashion designer and Ashwin’s hopes of leaving the family business to pursue a writing career.
I truly enjoyed the screenplay that intertwines two very different individuals through their honest support of one another. The writing also does an incredible job in redefining romance in Bollywood, stripping away all the cheesiness and ‘happily ever after’ moments to shine a light on the harsh truth about inter-caste relationships in modern India.
Definitely a tearjerker, this film is a must-watch for those interested in a more natural rendition of a love story, and for those looking to better understand class struggles. If there was one critique for Is Love Enough? Sir it would be the need for a follow-up movie or a longer run time as the 99 minutes ran out right after the film was beginning to scratch the surface.
Masala’s Rating: 4/5