*may or may not contain spoilers*
Cast: Kalki Koechlin
Director: Shonali Bose
Margarita with a Straw is a movie about a young rebellious college girl, Laila who has to spend her entire life sitting on an electronic wheelchair as she is suffering from Cerebral Palsy. She is bright, creative and write lyrics for her college band. She falls in love with her band mate but he in an oh so subtle manner rejects her, leaving her heartbroken. The movie continues as Laila goes to New York to study further and tries to discover her sexuality when she meets a visually-impaired woman.
This movie is beautiful in more ways than one. I was quite surprised that even Bollywood can come up with this kind of a movie that too with such a theme. I watch only selected Hindi movies (I try to avoid the ones containing stupid songs and drama). After watching its trailer I knew I had to watch this movie. So today my mom and I finally went to watch it and came out of the theatre extremely happy, at least I was! (Yes, I do watch movies with my mother because she is cooler than ice.)
The best thing I have to say is, this movie does not apologize for disability (as quoted by the Indian Express). Yes, there is a girl who has cerebral palsy, yes, her mother has to give her baths every day, comb her hair, dress her up and wipe her ass. But, nobody is sorry for that, especially Laila. She even shows a middle finger to a judge who lets her band win just because it had a physically disabled person as a member.
Also, the movie portrays the relationship between a mother and her daughter very beautifully. The director of Margarita with a Straw, lets her women character sit in the driver’s seat, not only metaphorically but literally too. You can see Laila’s mother driving the car while the husband calls shotgun. Her mother is the pillar of the family, most importantly in her life. While her father was a tad hesitant to send her to New York, her mother only wanted to see her happy, even if it meant hiring a nurse for her college life and stay miles away from her. This shows that how dedicated a parent has to be with a special needs child, but again, nobody is sorry because Laila herself doesn’t give a rat’s ass about what people say.
Kalki has performed exceptionally well and not to mention the new comer, Sayani Gupta has played her part up to the mark.
Recently, I read an open letter from an actress of a daily soap opera, stating that she was disappointed as the movie did not inform the viewers anything about cerebral palsy as it was mentioned merely twice during the entire movie and concentrated on the sexual orientation of Laila. Well, what I have to say in defense of the movie is that, it was realistic and motivational. What I don’t understand is why a disabled person has to suffer their entire life thinking why they were like that. They too can have a normal life, a loving partner and a wonderful family who does not consider them as a burden. Also, this movie is not about cerebral palsy at all! In fact, it revolves around a person who just happens to have this disability, nothing more, nothing less.
Margarita with a Straw changes one’s outlook on disability and as we are in the 21st century, it’s high time we get acquainted with such a frame of mind. I would like to recommend everybody reading this review to watch the movie as it will build happy bubbles inside the pit of your stomach. (Also, carry a few tissues too, you might need them).
PS I tried my best not to give spoilers and I have succeeded.