Photograph (2019)

Photograph is another sweet and wistful love story from the director of The Lunchbox, Ritesh Batra.


by Alexa Dalby


CAUTION: Here be spoilers

Rafi (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) is a struggling street photographer near Mumbai’s Gateway monument. One day he photographs a shy young student Miloni (Sanya Malhotra) but she disappears before he can give her the print.

Rafi is under pressure from his formidable grandmother in the country (Farrukh Jaffar) to get married, so much so that everyone knows she has stopped taking her medicine until he comes up with a fiancée. Thinking this will satisfy her, Rafi sends her the photograph he took of Miloni. Unfortunately, this has the opposite effect – his grandmother now descends on him in order to vet her suitability. Rafi finds Miloni and persuades her to pretend to be his fiancée to please his grandmother.

Photograph is a kind, gentle, slowly unfolding possibility of love. These two shy people together could fulfil their potential. But the odds of wealth, caste and religion in modern India are stacked against the shy young couple. Miloni is a star accountancy student from a well-off middle-class family who are planning a suitable match for her. She and Rafi, it transpires gradually, are of different religions – he is Muslim. And although Miloni seems to be deeply unhappy and longs to leave the city and live a quiet life with Rafi on a farm in the village that he comes from, they both know deep down that this can only be a dream.

It’s a beautifully told, delicate, quietly affecting love story that’s a comment on the pressures of life in contemporary India.

Photograph is released on 2 August 2019 in the UK.

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