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Mahatma Gandhi soulfully believed “the future of India lies in its villages”, invisible in “Photograph”, director Ritesh Batra (“Lunchbox”) achingly, hauntingly, throughout the film, references the poignancy, simplicity, pains, banes of rural existence; yearly, millions of young men and women flood major Indian cities, live in squalor, sending their negligible rupees back to their bereft families.

“Rafi” (sublimely subtle, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, “Sacred Games”) a street photographer, patrolling the Gateway of India, in Mumbai (its magical cacophony, cluttered, chaotic streets, sear with accuracy); his subjects: tourists, natives, hordes of humanity; a frozen moment, trapped by his lens; “Miloni” (quietly gifted depiction by Sanya Malhotra) scholarly, malleable maiden, on a sudden impulse allows Rafi to photograph her, and vanishes without paying him; thus initiates a disparate relationship, karmically scripted, where in discovering each other they find themselves.

Rafi, convinces Miloni to pose as his “intended” to quell the diatribes of his grandmother; Farrukh Jaffer is astounding; she emblazons every moment with keen perspicacity, hilarity, and unbounded love for her grandson; their scenes shine with the astute professionalism of both actors.

Batra slyly, secretly imbues a genuineness, a warmth, empowering viewers to surmise the outcome; experiencing a gratifying, fulfilling sense of happiness, glee at simply being introduced to Rafi, Miloni and Dadi.



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