Skip to main content

Film Reviews Photograph shoots for poignant sadness rather than cheap romcom zaniness

A struggling Mumbai street photographer (Nawazuddin Siddiqui, left) pressured to marry by his grandmother convinces a shy stranger (Sanya Malhotra) to pose as his fiancée during a family visit.

Joe D’Souza/Courtesy of Amazon Studios / Mongrel Media

  • Photograph
  • Directed and written by: Ritesh Batra
  • Starring: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Sanya Malhotra and Farrukh Jaffar
  • Classification: PG; 110 minutes

rating

Despite vast cultural differences, the pair develops a surprising connection that challenges their worldviews.

Joe D’Souza/Courtesy of Amazon Studios / Mongrel Media

After making two English-language features (including Our Souls at Night with Robert Redford and Jane Fonda), the writer-director Ritesh Batra makes a tender-hearted return to India. The Mumbai-set Photograph is a gentle romance cleverly told, and not without humour.

Films opening this weekend: The soaring Rocketman and searing Colten Boushie doc nipawistamasowin: We Will Stand Up

Rafi (played by Bollywood star Nawazuddin Siddiqui) is a stoic tourist-trap photographer whose bachelorhood is of great concern to friends, relatives and random cab drivers. The word literally on the street is that Rafi’s grandmother has vowed to stop taking her medicine until he finds a wife. When she comes to visit him, he comes up with a fake girlfriend (Miloni, a shy stranger) to keep the old woman at bay.

Story continues below advertisement

Rafi is without joy. Miloni longs for the slow life of a villager.

Joe D’Souza/Courtesy of Amazon Studios / Mongrel Media

It’s a premise as old as Green Card star Gérard Depardieu’s underwear, but this pretend-relationship story shoots for poignant sadness rather than cheap rom-com zaniness. Working-class Rafi is joyless; middle-class accounting student Miloni longs for a villager’s slow-lane life. Will they stop living for other people? Will their love blossom? The graceful filmmaker Batra is in no rush to gives us clear clues. Like Polaroids and introverted people, Photograph takes its time developing.

Photograph opens on May 31 in Toronto and Vancouver; June 14, Montreal.

Live your best. We have a daily Life & Arts newsletter, providing you with our latest stories on health, travel, food and culture. Sign up today.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter