So disabled people want to have sex, then what?
Kalki can act. But the story is so single dimensional, you realise the milk of human kindness inside you is all dried up. There should be more to disabled people than this need for sex, no?
Let's say you and I talked about our sex drive all the time, imagined anyone and everyone of the opposite sex was actually wanting to have sex with us when they but smiled at us as they crossed the street, if we constantly looked up porn sites, cheated on our lovers, we would have no friends left and we would be labeled as sex maniacs or perverts and a film made on us would be relegated to sleaze town.
This film surely raises the uncomfortable question about the existence and acknowledgement of a disabled person's sex drive. But it cannot, should not be all that the movie is about, isn't it?
Remember the delightful movie Yellow? The movie is about a little girl who is mentally challenged who loves to play in the water and goes on to win a silver medal at the Olympics for disabled people. Yes, it makes you uncomfortable when you wonder how it would be to have a disabled child at home, and how support comes from unsuspecting sources. The uncle in Yellow scores way more than Laila's mum and Khanum put together.
Here, you can see the effort the actor Kalki has put in, even if you have not seen tv and net clippings of 'making of', 'inspired by', you can nod your heads in approval. This is truly good acting. Heck, Eddie Redmayne got Oscar nominations for his stint in the wheelchair.
What drove me insane was that the story was stuck on this one need for sex. Laila is desperate for sex. Nothing else. She gets a chance to study at NYU, and she reaches there with her mom who makes sure she has an attendant, and food and that she's comfortable. What does Laila do? Think of sex. You want to box her ears and say, 'We got it. Padhai karo!' And a logical part of you is asking: Wasn't your heart just broken by Nima? You came away to a foreign land to get over that heartbreak. How did you forget so easily?
There are some gorgeous mother-daughter moments: from combing hair to arguing to laughing together. But every time Laila calls her mom, 'Aai', you are reminded that Revathi does not look like Marathi mom from any angle. Why didn't they simply call her 'amma'? It wouldn't have taken anything away from the story.
That brings us back to the story. Laila and her sex life. She has found a lover who is also studying at the Uni. But we see a montage of the discovery of sex and togetherness as though it has never been seen before. Yes, the cynical bit inside your head reminds you to label it 'Festival Circuit: Award Bait' It's 2015 and a lesbian sex with a disabled person will still draw eyeballs. Never mind that 'Blue Is The Warmest Color' has still not found release in India.
By the time Laila's sexual bits turn into tears, you have no empathy left. You just want the selfishness to end. It doesn't. She's dating. Even though her clothes are so cute and her ear-rings pretty, you want to throw something at her for making her bereaved dad go through the drive and the carrying so she could look cute as she begins to love herself and drink Margarita with a straw.
There should have been something more than sex to Laila. Maybe it would have been as good as Yellow. Maybe more people would have seen the film and not just lustful old men who want to nudge-nudge-wink-wink...
P.S. I hated myself for thinking that she's going to touch her father inappropriately when he's grieving...