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  • 3 out of 5 stars
Joe D’Souza

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

Ritesh Batra (’The Lunchbox’) returns to Mumbai for another lighter-than-air romance.

After detours to the UK and US for ‘The Sense of an Ending’ and ‘Our Souls at Night’, writer-director Ritesh Batra returns to his native Mumbai, the setting for his acclaimed 2013 debut, ‘The Lunchbox’. Working from his own script for the first time since, Batra has created another bittersweet romance about star-crossed lovers, with smaller stakes but no less feeling.

Under pressure to wed, down-at-heel street photographer Rafi (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) persuades Miloni (Sanya Malhotra), a young woman whose photograph he took, to pose as his fiancée. As their well-meaning subterfuge grows more complex, a timid romance develops despite differences of religion, caste and means (Rafi sleeps on a crowded floor; Miloni has a servant).

All the ingredients for a colourful Bollywood musical, you might think, but Batra is more interested in the reality of modern India, setting his slow-cooked romance against the beating heart of a city so authentically drawn you can almost smell the street food. Siddiqui, who plays Irrfan Khan’s effervescent co-worker in ‘The Lunchbox’, is reliably excellent, and although Malhotra is hamstrung by an underwritten role, their chemistry is palpable. The story is gossamer-thin, but the pair’s developing tenderness is portrayed with subtlety, charm and extraordinary attention to detail.

Written by
David Hughes

Release Details

  • Rated:15
  • Release date:Friday 2 August 2019
  • Duration:110 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Ritesh Batra
  • Screenwriter:Ritesh Batra
  • Cast:
    • Nawazuddin Siddiqui
    • Sanya Malhotra
    • Sachin Khedekar
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