I just loved this series. And I mean,I just loved it. I have gotto to thank my friend ‘life in the bay’ who recommended this to me!
At its core, it’s an endearing little love story. (And boy, is it difficult to make one without treading into the tricky territories of LGBT social acceptance or the politics of it all)
The way I felt watching this is how I felt after I watched “the weekend”.
Although, here, it is puppy love. It’s a visceral feeling for them both. There’s no calculation and there are no ‘let’s consider this’ moments. They just really start to like each other and feel like, being with each other (and of course, doing things to each other ;)) is all that they want! Nothing comes close to that intense, ‘my-heart-will-break-out-of-my-chest-if-i-don’t-see-you-right-this-moment’ feeling when you first fall in love. There’s a mad rush and yet it all feels natural and “easy”, like they say! And they have done a fantastic job of depicting this whole flurry of emotions.
This is a milestone series in so many ways. I don’t even remember the last time I saw a simple love story narrated this way, even between a heterosexual couple. The fact that the two protagonists are both women, just feels incidental. While that is a big win for the show, the irony that lies underneath it won’t stop staring at you!
A love story between a girl and a boy could never happen so easily in the late 90s, middle-class Bangalore households just because it would raise too many questions! Parents would have their guards raised if a guy called your house too much and you talked to him through midnight, day after day! But if a girl called, it’s all A okay. Parents would raise hell if you said you’ll stay over a guy’s house but a girl sharing a bed with you, they wouldn’t even bat an eyelid. This obliviousness, actually makes ‘the other love story’ possible. It’s sad, if you think about it, but hey, you won’t see me complaining!
When one of the girls’ family finds out about them, they are just so freaked out by it that their reaction is a mixture of shame, shock, surprise and an overarching sense of disbelief. The mom says “it’s something so beyond even my imagination” and that’s true. They all think it’s some sort of perversion and they just don’t know how to address it. The series portrays this excellently too. They don’t dwell on it, they don’t use words. They all know about the elephant in the room and they’re just out of their depth trying to address it. And honestly, they all wish that the elephant went away or just didn’t exist in the first place.
I have gotto mention how beautifully the series shows off my city of my times :) And it’s not even the most beautiful parts of the city. It’s just random residential neighborhoods, houses with metal window panes, sheet roofs, gate with latches that you close from the top - things that were so 90s/2000s Bangalore.
And boy, walking around on the streets, vehicles in the background, buying 75 paise eclairs, standing on the terrace and talking, sitting on the terrace and talking, sitting on the stairs and talking, talking for hours on the landline after JUST HAVING MET -( and really except for really falling in love with a girl) I could think back to all those times that I experienced these personally!
I am so happy I watched this. I wish the director makes more such. Even an anthology like “how they met” will be fun I guess. And come to think of it, there is a gaping void in kannada literature/film/tv space about just teenage romance (or in the case of south indian people - ‘late adolescence’ (18-22 yrs) romance)
Edited to add: So I was reading one of the interviews that the director did and I thought she articulated this very nicely:
“Aadya and Aachal fall in love in that period, when there was absolutely no reference point or information, they don’t even know that such a thing happens in the world. They feel what they feel and they act on it because of the force with which love hits them. I just wanted to explore this space”
“Kannada film industry’s tryst with experimenting with interesting subjects has touched a new level. For the first time in south Indian cinema, a young Kannada filmmaker has dared to showcase the ‘taboo’ subject of lesbianism in his latest movie 141 amid threats from fringe groups.
The movie is all set to release on September 11 despite lack of support from the Regional Censor Board and the film fraternity.
The movie will be dubbed into Telugu and Tamil and will be released across Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Tamil Nadu on September 18. Incidentally, the movie was lying in the pipes for more than one-and-half-years, as the Regional Censor Board refused to clear it.
“Making this movie was a challenge for me. The Regional Censor Board was completely against my project. First, they refused to clear my title. Then, they did not give me the certificate contending that it was against our culture. I had to approach a revising committee to secure the clearance.
Even now, they have not permitted me to use posters extensively to promote the movie. My aim is to expose how the society and the government, who are opposed to lesbianism, which has gained acceptance elsewhere,” said director Bhavaji, who has also produced the movie.
Bhavaji made it clear that his movie did not have any ‘cheap’ content though it had been given an ‘A’ certificate. “Though the movie has been given an 'A’ certificate for the nature of content, but there are no scenes that will make the audience uncomfortable. The movie tells the story of two women, who are in love with each other and how they have to face the wrath of the society,” he added.
Owing to the sensitive nature of the subject, the director roped in new actors for the movie - Tanya (Russian) and Kavya to form the lead pair while Farooq Khan, a Hyderabad-based actor, is also seen in a prominent role.
The director had great difficulty in filming the movie, which was shot for over 30 days in Bengaluru, Mangaluru, Shivamogga, Udupi and Hyderabad. Praveen Olivier, who worked under Oscar award winning music maestro A R Rahman, has composed the music for the movie.
“It is such an irony that this movie was ready by end of 2013 and I am permitted to release it now without any kind of publicity. Neither the Karnataka Film Chambers of Commerce nor the Regional Censor Board appreciated my work. I am disappointed with the lack of their support,” said the director.
Now, Bhavaji is facing a different kind of threat from fringe groups, who are of the view that the movie is against Indian culture. He has received calls from them asking him not to release the movie.
“I might seek police protection if there is any opposition to film’s release. All I want to say to those who are opposing the movie is that it is not an X-rated film. I have tried to capture the sentiments of a lesbian couple and how the society treats them,” he said.“