Three of Us

Three of Us
Three of Us
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Sparse dialogue, judicious symbolism and frequent silences are the elements of Three Of Us that were added by its cinematographer, Avinash Arun who is also the director.

‘Three Of Us’ is a sensitive interplay of emotions that concerns love, loss, healing, awareness and liberation. Shailaja (Shefali Shah) finds herself at the beginning stages of dementia. In the process, she remembers her past as well as experiences that await her in future. To revisit her childhood before it fades away completely from her memory, Shefali decides to take a journey. It tells about Shailaja’s subsequent confrontation with issues related to child abuse in her early life; how boring marriage can be sometimes; and an uncertain future. Set against Konkan’s vast coastline, Shailaja’s companion on this journey is her husband (Swanand Kirkire) and first love (Jaideep Ahlawat). It shows how she has been longing for forgiveness while trying to get rid of chains that bound her. Will she ever really satisfy? Will everything be okay for the husband? Is there going to be anything between him and Shailaja after childhood? Is it ever going to end? You’ll have to watch this movie.

Shefali Shah never lets down. Her portrayal of a woman slowly losing her mind is so subtle yet poignant. That you will find yourself reading every single emotion across her face – layer upon layer. Not because she overdoes it during performance. The incredible level of detail with which she portrays this role makes one hope that things would go right for once in real life too. You wish for more of such moments where events turn out happily for our protagonist. She does not want things to go sour before she dies. She wants make use all opportunities available now before they disappear forever. Getting invested in such a character is what makes Arsala terrific. A scene where she suddenly suffers from dementia at her old dance school. And the way that she reacts to it is so amazing that you just want to give her a great big hug. She is a genius.

There will be hardly any movie where Jaideep Ahlawat laughs so much. He has always been the angry young man in all his past films, and even when there was slight smile on his lips, it came with an air of irony or malice. This time however, in ‘Three Of Us’ he smiles genuinely for the first occasion which might make one think that this guy is not only for tougher roles but he can also pull off such soft characters too. For instance, there’s a scene where he is talking about his father with Shefali Shah. And how he deals with different emotions like sorrow, tragedy, remorse and guilt shows what good actor he really is.

Swanand Kirkire’s character is slightly envious but not upset by the fact that his wife wants to meet one of her former childhood boyfriends and get a final answer. The portrayal in this film of the feeling inside you when your wife is struggling with a life-threatening disease, but without any personal opinions about her dating history is absolutely fantastic. That subtlety is so beautifully capture by Kirkire that every woman would wish she had a husband as loving as him.

The movie’s soul lies in Avinash Arun’s scriptwriting and direction, Omkar Achyut Barve and Arpita Chatterjee’s photography while dialogues are written by Grover and Shoaib Nazeer. It is in its writing that there lies subtlety which gives steadiness to the story. Those nuances that they have put into a very simple story makes you realize what time does to life sometimes. “Three Of Us” shows perfectly how simple all things are, why calmness must be maintain and when it is necessary to let go.

This talent could also be seen in the direction of Avinash Arun. The manner he has narrated an ordinary story like yours yet one that keeps drawing us into it more and more with each scene. Warm, homely nostalgia unfolds through how he takes you through his screenplay; you will never want it to end. This isn’t like those mushy romantic movies where everything will be all right eventually though instead he tells them. What every parent should tell their children if ever they want to give them hope in life again. He ends up hugging you tighter after giving you the harsh realities of life, something other movies couldn’t do.

The maturity with which the love story comes around is outstandingly good. Rarely can love possibly be portrayed as maturely as it is shown here, where you know it belongs behind because no matter what it won’t just let you free unless you have closure. Also, they’ve managed to put in so many gender-bending scenes which will strike you instantly. For instance, there is a boy in a Bharatnatyam dance class where the students are all girls. Another example is Jaideep Ahlawat’s character not hesitating from sewing, fabric painting and embroidered artwork. These minor details filmmakers typically don’t show in any of their movies. Unless they want to break the stereotypes attached to gender roles in India. That should be appreciated by Avinash Arun.

The cinematography of Avinash Arun equally deserves plaudits. The Konkan region of Maharashtra has been portray so beautifully that one feels they are walking with the characters. There are times when some of the frames get too dark and there isn’t much light on the actor’s faces; this seems intentional on Avinash’s part for it indicates that everyone has secrets which they keep hidden inside them. Who would not want to take leave at once only going to spend some time in this idyllic village?

The editing by Sanyukta Kaza is very tight. At no point does it allow for any boredom at all. However it’s just an hour and 38 minutes, every instant keeps you engrossed into what is happening there together with them. Those jump cuts were few if any creating such smoothness between scenes that the whole narrative sticks on your mind as if glued.

In general, the background score and the soulful songs are often memorable in such small-town dramas. What makes Alokananda Dasgupta’s background score so brilliant is that he has let whole scenes to go on without any disturbance. There are some scenes where it feels like there isn’t BGM at all. But thankfully they fit so nicely with the scene in the fore and as such blend well into the narrative. The lack of a background score bodes ill for the setting and increases the intensity of the story further. Whether intentional or not, it’s come out as a masterstroke!

‘Three Of Us’ is a masterpiece in acting. In their respective roles Shefali Shah, Jaideep Ahlawat and Swanand Kirkire have performed so brilliantly that you don’t even know that they’re acting. The characters feel really natural and this highlights how real their situations become. When Avinash Arun puts them through such things that make them look more alive than ever before It’s no doubt Best Film I’ve seen this year. 5 stars from me.

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