Firstly – a round of applause to PVR Directors Rare for releasing movies such as ‘Love Wrinkle Free’. It’s exciting times for Indian Cinema wherein in between the ongoing IPL season and some other big banner movies; little gems like Love Wrinkle Free are finding their space on the big screen.
The beauty of a well-made film is that you leave the cinema hall with a light-hearted grin. The slim balance needed between the subject at hand and the art of film-making is tricky, one which even some veterans rarely achieve. The characterizations, setups, performances, drama all have to contribute or else it’s tough to keep the audience engaged for long. With so much under the microscopic eye of the cinema-goer, does debutant director Sandeep Mohan manage to wow the audience with new actors and an off-beat script revolving around love and relationships on the other side of 40?
Annie Monteiro (Shernaz Patel) runs the family eatery while husband Savio (Ash Chandler) is a sales rep in an innerwear company. She is worried her getting older will lead to her losing place in the church choir. He fed up with his colleagues bullying dreams of starting his own edible inner garments business. ‘We’ll call it ‘Eat me’’ Savio muses at one point. Their adopted teenage daughter Ruth (Arika Silaichia) struggles with adolescent swings of her own. While Annie’s unwanted pregnancy disconcerts the Monteiro family, Savio’s flirtatious encounter with traveling photographer Natalie (Seema Rahmani) on one hand and Ashwin Mushran’s infatuation for Annie on another leads to complication as far as love is concerned in the age of wrinkles.
It’s a right concoction of cast each with their own independent tracks, simultaneously meshed together into each other’s lives. The trick that they get right is; none of them make an effort to attract the attention of the audience. They just glide along the screenplay naturally without a care of being judged. The Monteiro family could very well be your next door neighbors who go about monotony of life just like any middle age couple does. The movie is as real as the many common people (35 investors) who’ve funded it. Ash Chandler works magic with his vulnerable portrayal of the idealist Savio, while Shernaz tugs the heartstrings with her sunshine disposition. Together they make a delightful combination as the quirky couple. As bias as I may sound owing to my admiration for Seema Rahmani, once again she is flawless and easy on the eyes, Special mention to Arika who lends the right support, is brilliantly casted.
Love Wrinkle Free runs along the themes of Love, its unpredictibilities and how people deal with it when it chances upon them at most unassuming times and phases of one’s life. With our lives being embroiled in multiple issues of money, identity, work, competition, aspirations, it is easy to neglect our relationships and let the wrinkles surface. How we then attempt rejuvenating ourselves defines our slice of life. The movie carries a liberating breath of freshness equated with the first rains, breezy calm even as it sets out to break the many cosmetic clichés of Goa’s white sands. With a fairly uncomplicated narrative that does not have too much to absorb – it’s as ‘susegaad’ (laid-back) as the Goa surrounding it embraces. The film, on a whole isn’t close to being perfect. There are long stretches, and after a point it becomes evident that the maker is struggling to keep the tempo horizontal, but for a first time filmmaker, Sandeep Mohan charms you with his focused direction. Yes the film is punctuated by some tiresome sub-plots but for most part of it, Sandeep conjures a quirky little tale of relationships, identity and some age-life crises. The audience can feel the anxieties that the characters go through trying to pace through their daily routines.
For its fresh perspective on emotions of love, irrespective of age, Love Wrinkle Free makes for an indulgent watch.