LIFF 2018 Movie Review: ‘Teen Aur Aadha’

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Dar Gai directed ‘Teen Aur Aadha’ is a film which is a part of the London Indian Film Festival line-up for 2018. With the film being shot only in three long shots, it definitely lures you in from the start. The actors – Zoya Hussain, Jim Sarbh, MK Raina, Suhasini Mulay, Arya Dave, Anjum Rajabali and Manmeet Pem – all play different parts to highlight what the four walls of a house has seen through three different eras.

The first portion sees the story of a grandfather (Rajabali) and his grandson (Dave) and the conversations between them as the former lays paralysed in his bed and the latter has a troubled time at school. It is a fascinating insight into their relationship, the gap between their mentalities, their love for one another and how they manage to pacify each other. The performances of both Rajabali and Dave are so natural that the story easily absorbs you as the 43 minute portrayal creates its own world.

The second portion stars Hussain as Sulekha and Sarbh as Natraj. The house is now a brothel with the latter ending up in the former’s room as a client. In an unlikely encounter, the two end up in conversation when Sulekha reveals that Natraj is her first client. They talk through their insecurities and somehow get into each other’s psyches  somewhat before they end up doing what Natraj character has come for. The end of that second part is particularly eye-opening, and comes as a surprise to the audiences after seeing Sulekha and Natraj spark a connection. Sarbh and Hussain’s chemistry is also effective as they both feed off each other’s energies it seems. Hussain is seen under Anurag Kashyap’s production before she was seen in the more mainstream ‘Mukkabaaz’ (2017) and she shows that she’s made of what it takes to get critical acclaim. Sarbh also seems to showcase the best his versatility again with the vulnerable, slightly aloof but somewhat relateable Natraj.

The third and final part sees Rajabali and Mulay together, showing a wonderful tale of two people of an older age hopelessly in love with one other. They reminisce, they talk about their need for each other and their affection is what shows their love in a light that perhaps might not have been seen before in a similar movie.

Gai’s interpretation that it is human nature to feel the need for love and also a need to escape, as she’s said she’s explored through this film is evident through all the three tales. The end scenes show the house being readied once again to see another set of lives come into it. The four walls that have stood the test of time and seen such touching moments begin their cycle again.

The film tells the stories through an interesting pace but what’s evident is how much each of the stories make you feel. You know that the four walls essentially remain the same but the eras and characters are different. As a viewer, you become almost instantly consumed within the worlds created and this is the beauty of ‘Teen Aur Aadha’ and Gai’s direction aside from the applause-worthy performances.

‘Teen Aur Aadha’ runs as part of the 9th edition of the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival, that runs at 15 cinemas, across London, Birmingham and Manchester, from 21st June to 1st July, with 27 films, including features and short films, in competition. It is the largest South Asian film festival in Europe. Buy your tickets via this website, at respective cinema box offices: http://londonindianfilmfestival.co.uk/

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