Writer and Director Anurag Kashyap once again brings a dynamic and highly controversial topic to mainstream Bollywood – That Girl In Yellow Boots. Meet Ruth, our lead protagonist, beautifully essayed by Kalki Koechlin. A British citizen, Ruth moves to India in the search of ‘unconditional love’ that she believes only her father can provide her with. A father, who left his family a long time ago after he was unable to realize his elder daughter’s death. The story leads on as we follow Ruth on her journey as she juggles between a drug addict for a boyfriend and giving ‘happy endings’ to sleazy old men at the massage parlour she works for.
A thriller on the surface, That Girl in Yellow Boots tackles sensitive issues in a very realistic manner and leaves the audience with an awareness of such psychopathic behaviour in society. While Ruth’s desperate journey does emit a doomed feeling throughout, some thankful moments of genuine comedy are provided by Divya Jagdale, the ‘chatterbox’ lady in charge of the parlour and Gulshan Devaiah, the goon who beats up Ruth so her boyfriend repays his debt.
Excellent performances by Kalki Koechlin as Ruth, Naseeruddin Shah as one of her clientele and Prashanth Prakash as her boyfriend make for a delightful watch. Naseeruddin Shah plays Diwakar, an ageing man who is the closest Ruth gets to a father figure. He is protective of her but finds himself helpless against the strong headed Ruth. Prashanth Prakash as Prashanth, Ruth’s addict boyfriend who gets into trouble with the underworld due to his drug problems also delivers brilliantly on all fronts.
Guest appearances by Ronit Roy and Rajat Kapoor add a touch of familiarity. Clever editing successfully tricks the audience into temporarily believing that Kapoor is Ruth’s father, but this rapidly transforms into disappointment. The movie stretches for a while but this is where the anti-climax of this movie comes in as Ruth discovers the identity of the man she now knows as her father and the shattering truth that comes along with this revelation.
Despite some weaknesses, the script works flawlessly by providing constant unpredictability and unanticipated twists. Excellent cinematography and editing ensure the audience is gripped right through to the end, making the movie a stunning success in content and delivery.
Kashyap proves his mantle once again with ground breaking cinema that seeks to impress none but ends up blowing away all. The success of similar movies such as Dev D and Delhi Belly amongst others shows that there is a market for the new Bollywood; Bollywood that brings real life to the screen. Kashyap’s apt comment “The generation today don’t owe anything to anyone...they are not suppressed anymore... (This taboo in society) is a result of years of suppression” reveals why this market for honest Hind-ies is growing at such an accelerating speed and show the hunger for good cinema that is no longer satisfied by a beautiful couple singing and dancing against the backdrop of a picturesque location.
There is still however quite a while to go before Indian society feels fully confident in both the production and consumption of such radical cinema and this is quite evident when Kashyap comments “My parents don’t watch my movies”. As was also revealed during the session, Kashyap found it quite hard to obtain funding for the movie and was told the movie was “career suicide”, further highlighting the difficulties of showcasing such pioneering cinema.
All in all, a must-watch for anyone wanting to watch some real stuff out there. Prepare to go home feeling slightly overwhelmed by the emotional difficulties and choices a young girl of 20 has to make.
Image courtesy of Benaisha Mehta.