Starring: Kalki Koechlin, Gulshan Devaiah, Pooja Swaroop, Naseeruddin Shah
Directed by Anurag Kashyap
That Girl In Yellow Boots is a tale of scarred, devastated childhood and its anguished aftermath. Filmmaker Anurag Kashyap narrates it slowly, bit by bit, with a lingering calm and control that makes the film unsettling and affecting.
A letter from her Indian father sends Brighton girl Ruth (Kalki, a perfect fit) on a seemingly unending search. She has neither any remembrance nor a photo. Her only memories are those of an elder sister committing suicide at 15, of parents separating soon after. A masseuse in Mumbai, Ruth has little communication with her mother and a coked-out boyfriend. It’s a world of dysfunctional relationships where the only hope is the “unconditional” love of a lost father.
TGIYB is a moody film that builds on the bleakness and suffocation of Ruth’s world and of the people around her. Like the inane telephone chatter (and, in turn, life) of Maya, the massage parlour girl, superbly observed and realised by Pooja Swaroop. There’s Ruth’s regular customer Naseeruddin Shah who cares for her like a father. Is he the one? And there’s the Kannada don Chitiappa Gowda (an inspired Gulshan) grieving his father’s death even as Ruth exploits him emotionally. Clearly, there is no black or white here. Kashyap leaves it open-ended and non-judgmental. Is the search for love an illusion? Can perversions be so easily deleted? Can we ever exorcise our ghosts or do we learn to cope with them? The film’s silent final sequence, deafening in its eloquence, says it all.