Thank you everyone for forcing me to watch this! It was lovely and warm and heartfelt, and completely unexpected. Nothing played out the way I thought it would and that was really nice.
Sometimes it’s okay to have a predictable movie. When the dude in dark glasses and a leather jacket with a mustache turns out to be Evil, that’s satisfying. Or the wedding is called off with a big speech, or the hero surprises the heroine at the train station, all of these things are in the realm of “sometimes it’s nice to have reliable patterns”. But then there’s the character moments where you just know how things are going to turn out because of Tradition and Culture and BLECH. It doesn’t arise naturally out of the characters, it’s forced on them because it’s what HAS to happen. This movie, everything comes up naturally, evenly, unexpectedly. It’s delightful.
What’s especially delightful is that all the Big Surprises were revealed in the trailer. It looked like yet another Issue/Comedy movie, we all know what the issue is, and then we watch the movie to see the funny comedy way it is treated, before getting with one long boring speech at the end teaching us a lesson and making us feel less bad for laughing earlier. But after the issue is revealed in the trailer for this movie, it just keeps going. It’s not about “resolving” the issue, it’s about these two people who happen to have one thing a little unusual about themselves, but are more than that one thing too.
The last LGBTQ+ movie that did this kind of story, but worse, was Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan. But that was the classic sort of “one issue characters” problem. We knew almost nothing about our central couple EXCEPT that they were gay. What were their hopes? Dreams? Career desires? Relationship with family outside of their queerness?
In this film, the LGBTQ+ issue is always there, because it is such an enormous obstacle in every aspect of life in Indian society. But it is also not always there, our heroine and hero both have complicated relationships with their mothers that are unrelated to that part of themselves. They have career problems, relationship problems, they are full rounded people.
And because they are full rounded people, they can’t be controlled like toys on a chess board. There is no big speech, there is no bowing to patriarchy, there is no “ultimately Indian society is still the best”. They are living their own lives and dealing with their own problems, they can’t be bothered with a “message”.
Which is, of course, the biggest message of the film. Just let people live their lives.