I went to watch ‘That Girl in Yellow Boots’ as a part of a creative writing workshop. Honestly, I was expecting it to be ‘Kalki in yellow boots’, mainly because the movie was directed by Kalki Koechlin’s (also the female lead) spouse Anurag Kashyap and she had a tad bit too much screen space in ‘Shaitan’. Much to by mortified delight, I stood absolutely corrected.
The story is simple-Ruth is a half-Indian, half-British girl, who visits India to find her Indian father, with whom she hasn’t had contact since she was five. She goes through countless challenges in her pursuit as she has no lead except for a letter that her father had sent to her. Ruth precisely is a damsel in distress, but not the stereotypical melodramatic “Bechari” type damsel. She is independent, street smart and knows to manipulate her ways in and out of trouble.
While the story is about Ruth’s tragic journey, all the other characters are well sketched out and stand out with balanced performances. Ruth’s house in its own term stands out as a character, with its scrappy walls and narrow rooms, probably symbolizing the filth that’s laden in the girl’s life. Naseeruddin Shah’s performance is as always seasoned, but it’s hard to say if there was any real purpose of his character in the plot, except to create a distraction or for that matter a suspect. For a lesser known actor, Prashant Prakash has done a laudable job as Ruth’s abusive (substance and his girlfriend) boyfriend. Actors Pooja Swaroop and Gulshan Devaiya with their twisted dialogues and idiosyncrasies provided some much needed comic relief to the plot.
Kalki Koechlin carries ‘That Girl in Yellow Boots’ on her shoulders and does so with great panache and élan. However, she certainly runs the risk of being stereotyped into these gray and distraught characters in Hindi Movies, if she plays another 'Dev D' styled role in her next movie.
|Anurag Kashyap and Kalki Koechlin|
The screenplay, a drama in its first impression, also has a jagged pattern of whodunit/crime thrillers which balances the movie on that thin line that differentiates interesting from boring. The buildup is intriguing and towards the end, although one kind of figures out how the film will end, there is a real element of surprise that can leave people baffled. 'That Girl in the Yellow Boots' allows the audience to connect with the characters without laying it thick on the tragedy or forcibly including tearjerker scenes; and it certainly has some genuine laugh out loud moments.
The yellow boots perhaps stand for the filth and misery in Ruth’s life and we see her taking them off for good, minutes before the final credits roll, under the most unusual circumstances, possibly symbolizing her eventual detachment from all of that.
The movie may strike as disturbing or gross for viewers who are not used to world cinema. Although the content is aimed at an adult audience, visually the movie does not have any kinky kicks to offer and demonstrates cinematic expertise in handling taboo topics. So anyone looking for some cheap 'A rated masala', ‘That Girl in the Yellow Boots’ is not the ideal multiplex ticket to purchase.
-by Parmita Borah