London Asian Festival was proud to showcase Margarita, with a Straw as part of its strong lineup of films this year. Margarita, with a Straw based on a true story, is far different from the commercial “typical Bollywood” movies. It is a realistic story of a women’s journey of self-discovery.
Laila (Kalki Koechlin) is a jolly Punjabi girl with cerebral palsy, studying in Delhi University, who’s fond of writing and electronic sounds. But her disability gets in the way of her journey as she gets upset of people being judgmental of her. She only shares a comfort level with her male best friend at her university and her mum (Revathy). She gets a scholarship to study in New York, and becomes very excited to explore the city. She along with her mum travels to New York, and Laila starts to feel confident. Along the way she also meets a young rebellious half-Pakistani and half-Bangladeshi activist, Khanum (Sayani Gupta) with a very different outlook on life. Khanum’s feisty and zestful attitude towards life, challenges Laila’s thoughts and eventually both attracted to each other they start a relationship.
However Laila, is still attracted to her male class mate Jared (William Moseley) and feels guilty after having sex with him. She hides this from Khanum. Soon Laila decides to travel back home to Delhi for her winter break, to spend time with her family and Khanum joins her. While in Delhi Laila tries her best to be confident enough to confront to her mum about her relationship with Khanum, but most of the time she fails to do so. Finally Laila builds the courage to tell her mum everything.
Margarita, with a Straw, leaves you with a glorious smile on your face with an exceptional performance by Kalki Koechlin. The movie director, Bose has portrayed lust and desire of the human nature and freedom in a beautiful way, with foot-tapping music by Mikey McCleary, and lyrics by Prasoon Joshi. The movie is slated to release on 17 April.
By: Sana Nooruddin