Photograph takes us to Mumbai

Rafi (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) and Miloni (Sanya Malhotra) in PHOTOGRAPH, an Amazon Studios release.

A  Mumbai photographer has to do everything he can to persuade a woman to pose as his fiancée in Ritesh Batra’s’s romantic drama, Photograph.

Mumbai street photographer Rafi (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) has to persuade Miloni (Sanya Malhotra) to pose as fiancée Noorie.  Let’s get one fact out of the way right now.  Rafi has to create Noorie if it means stalling the family pressure.  Oh, yeah–he uses Miloni’s photo in the process.  His grandmother wants nothing more than to see her grandson get married.  This could be any family, really.  It’s certainly something I can resonate with as a Jewish woman.

Anyway, Rafi has to find Miloni when his grandmother wants to meet her.  I can understand his reasoning in this process but at the same time, it’s poorly executed.  If you’re going to catfish your own grandmother, at least choose someone you can find easily.  It takes Rafi a bit to find Miloni and then he has to pick up the courage to ask her.  Overall, it’s not the easiest of living situations for Rafi.  He still feels guilty over his family losing everything.  He wants to do what he can to get the house back.  Because of this that he lives in a small room with friends.  Just about every cent he earns ends up with his grandmother, Dadi (Farrukh Jaffar).  Nobody can blame Rafi for wanting to do this but he needs to focus on his own life ahead of him.

As for Miloni, she deals with family pressure of her own while studying to be an account.  Despite her parents wishing to arrange a marriage for her, she decides to go along with it and join Rafi in this endeavor.  Yeah, it’s a crazy idea but it’s a break from the status quo.  Rafi’s not rich and Miloni’s family belongs in the middle class.  There’s no telling what direction that this will go.

“The stories are all the same in movies these days,” Rafi tells Miloni.

Before Rafi is able to expand on this argument, the film comes to an end.  The funny thing is that the sentence is mostly true of romantic comedies.  For what its worth, Ritesh Batra’s Photograph is not a romantic comedy.  There may be some aspects of comedy here but this film is mostly a romantic drama.

Because these two people come from different paths of life, Photograph looks at the idea of love in a way we haven’t seen in a while.

CAST:  Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Sanya Malhotra, Vijay Raaz, Virendra Saxena, and Farrukh Jaffar

Amazon Studios opens Photograph in theaters on May 17, 2019. Grade: 3.5/5

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.