Photograph movie review: Likable but not lovable

Photograph movie poster
Photograph movie poster

Here is the PHOTOGRAPH movie review. Starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Sanya Malhotra, the Indian-American - German coming-of-age romantic comedy-drama is written, co-produced and directed by THE LUNCH BOX fame Ritesh Batra. The movie is hitting the theatres today - March 15 2019 after having its world premiere at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and the European premiere at the 69th Berlin International Film Festival. Is Ritesh Batra able to repeat the magic again in his come back to India? find out in PHOTOGRAPH movie review?

Immediate reaction when the movie ends
Ritesh Batra brings the audience and his lead characters in ‘the mood for love’ but fails in making them falling in love with PHOTOGRAPH.

A struggling Mumbai street photographer Rafiq (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), is under pressure to get married by his grandmother played by Farrukh Jaffar. Rafiq convinces a stranger Miloni (Sanya Malhotra) to pose as his fiancée during a family visit. The click opens some frames on romance, relationships and self-discovery.

Ritesh Batra’s comeback to his hometown and ode to Mumbai after the simple and universal THE LUNCHBOX after six years is all nice and moody. The beauty of love, the life on streets, ordinary people, simple stories build up on a purely old-fashioned belief on romance. Like letters in THE LUNCHBOX, PHOTOGRAPH hugs and kisses the romanticism of classic Bollywood. The films and songs that fill the incomplete life of Rafi, with the tried, tested template of attraction between opposite individuals and the class divide.

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Ritesh Batra’s direction in PHOTOGRAPH
Ritesh Batra helms a slow burner, it’s moody and the craftsmanship is excellent. Cinematographers Tim Gillis and Ben Kutchins capture Mumbai’s hustle bustle along with the vintage theatres, chaiwalas with a probing eye and perfection. Ritesh Batra again pens a love letter to Mumbai in PHOTOGRAPH. It looks beautiful. The moments between and his granny played by Farrukh Jaffar are the best.

Nawazuddin Siddiqui is in his element and steals the show. Sanya Malhotra is competent. Farrukh Jaffar is fantastic.

A movie that sets the mood for love but fails to make you fall in love, PHOTOGRAPH is likable piece of art but not lovable, Ritesh Batra fails to create a proper balance in his characterization. While Rafi has all reasons to follow his grandmother’s wishes/orders as we come across events related to his past, Batra leaves Miloni at the mercy of the audience. The said modern woman who wants to focus on her career is rejecting the arrange marriage tradition but surprisingly gets convinced by a street-smart photographer to pose as his fiancée. This can happen in a mainstream romancer starring Shah Rukh Khan not a proposed art house starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui. This jarring contradiction makes Batra’s film too nice to be good. It charms but doesn’t rule. The overall sweep, which happened in THE LUNCHBOX is missing completely. PHOTOGRAPH is Batra’s weakest movie, which has moments and if done by anyone else would have been rated as good but expectations are bound to be high after THE LUNCHBOX.

Final words
PHOTOGRAPH by THE LUNCHBOX fame Ritesh Batra is beautiful, charming, it tingles your heart but fails to touch your soul.

Rating 2.5/5

Movie Cast & Crew
  • Actor: Nawazuddin Siddiqui
  • Actress: Sanya Malhotra
  • Director: Ritesh Batra
  • Release Date : 15 Mar 2019
  • Movie Duration : 1h 50m