In a special screening organized by Shamiana – The Short Film Club (India’s largest short-film club), more than a hundred people witnessed Indian cinema at its boldest and, perhaps, bravest. I’m talking about Anurag Kashyap’s latest directorial venture, That Girl in Yellow Boots. Needless to say, after films like Dev D and Gulaal, TGIYB hits you in a place in your mind that you never knew existed.
The cast and crew of the movie is enough to draw crowds, but beware, you may not see as much of them as you probably wanted. Veterans like Naseeruddin Shah and Piyush Mishra appear in mini-skirt sized roles. But, who needs them anyway? Kalki’s superb British-girl-in-India performance is enough to leave you wanting more. Add to the mix, theatre artists and debutantes, Prashant Prakash and Gulshan Devaiya and you’ve get yourself 103 minutes of excellent performances.
The movie is about Ruth, a British girl, who gets a mysterious letter from her estranged father. Well against the wishes of her mother, who kicked him out of her house in the first place, Ruth travels to India and sets up base in Mumbai, working as a masseuse at a shady massage parlour. Her customers are invariably men, of all shapes and sizes. But, is the income of a masseuse enough to manage her boyfriend and ‘donations’ to the Embassy, Police Station and the Post Office? Obviously not. So she offers hand jobs to customers for meager amounts of money.
Now, as much as you’d like it to, please don’t typecast this in your mind as a ‘sex’ movie. Believe me, it’s not. Like I said earlier, the movie is about Ruth. Her struggle. Her life. And all the men in it who just want one thing from her. But not all men are like that, you’d probably say. And you’re right. Meet Divakar (Naseeruddin Shah), a customer of Ruth’s and the only person in the movie you wish was her father. He listens, he talks and he cares about Ruth as if she were his only daughter.
Like most of Anurag Kashyap’s movies, this one too has wry humor at some places, giving you relief from the intensity of Ruth’s pain but at the same time shocking you with the placing and the timing. You have Ruth’s junkie boyfriend, Prashant and the comical English-hating, drug overlord, Chittiappa bringing in most of the funny spots but never quite taking the spotlight away from Ruth.
Wrapping up, I’d say TGIYB is a dark movie, and ends up touching on the topic that most of the producers and directors wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole – actually forget it, I won’t be giving away any more details. As for who the father is, go find out for yourself!
Lastly, for the technicians: Anurag Kashyap has done what was thought impossible 5 years ago. He bought a DSLR (a Canon 7D to be more precise), shot an entire movie with it, and threw it at the discerning Indian viewer with the word ‘extraordinary’ written all over it. He literally painted the film in tones and shades of green, blue and yellow, to bring in to the movie richness and finesse that’s hard to miss. He has really brought about a new-found democracy to filmmaking, showing the world that you don’t need 100 crores to make a film. In his words: you can go shoot a projection-quality film with the latest HD-capable mobile phone, all you need is an idea.