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Directed by Shonali Bose, this heart-warming story about young Laila suffering from cerebral-palsy and undergoing life changing experiences is an underrated gem that you must watch.

Margarita with a Straw begins with a montage of simplicity, with sequences of a disabled girl taking active part in routine family car rides and having fun with college mates. This cuts to a scene where Laila (played to perfection by Kalki Koechlin), in her wheelchair is being carried by two men to the upper floor of her college. Kalki’s expressions evoke Laila’s disgust with this way of transport.

Unlike other portrayals of differently abled characters in Bollywood, the viewers aren’t made to feel pitiful or sorry for Laila. Laila is like everyone else. She makes mistakes and owns up to them. Her explorations might hurt others emotionally, but she is unapologetic for undertaking her journey.

Revathy, who plays Laila’s Aai is earnest and sincere. She is understanding yet a typical prude Indian woman who can neither accept that her daughter has a boyfriend nor that she watches porn. Still her apprehensions to accepting her daughter’s sexual preferences are not melodramatic; they are subtle, veiled and anti-climactic.

This isn’t a coming out story, or a love story. Rather, it is a journey of a young girl, going through changes, going into the real world, breathing in independence and exploring her sexuality and preferences.

It takes her half the film and romantic relationships with four different characters to finally say that she is bisexual. The film takes liberty in not only making others realise that Laila is attracted to both men and women, but also lets the audience see how she herself comes to that conclusion.

The clear distinction between a lesbian (Sayani Gupta’s brilliant Khanum) and bisexual is a feat achieved by this film because it clearly and aptly represents not one, but two people identifying in different ways with the LGBTQ+ community.

The depiction of Laila’s journey isn’t like a fierce roller coaster ride. It is like water currents of a river, which eventually end up finding its way to the calmness of the sea. It is an emotional, compassionate and humanistic portrayal which will certainly move you.

Feature Image Credits: Variety

Sakshi Arora
[email protected]

Actor and writer Kalki Koechlin visited the St. Stephen’s College on the 14th of August 2018 to talk about her new BBC World Service podcast, ‘Kalki Presents: My Indian Life’.

The podcast, released on 4th of August, is a series of real-life experiences that talks ‘about being young and Indian in the 21st century’. “It is about great, compelling, fascinating stories from all around India,” said the film and theatre artist, who is also known for actively speaking about social issues.

After a small welcome, the Margarita, with a Straw star and her fellow panellists, Geeta Pandey, Mallika Taneja, Eshan Hilal, and Aditya N. had an interactive session with the audience in the college hall. Some students had an on-stage belly dancing session with Eshan, who has been featured in the first episode of the podcast, ‘Dancing To His Own Beat’, a story about a Delhi-based professional belly dancer from an orthodox Muslim family. The best belly dancer won a solo photograph with Kalki.

Aditya performed a song for the crowd. “I found myself in the St. Stephen’s College stage after almost 16 years,” said theatre artist Mallika, an alumna of Kirori Mal College, who appears in the second podcast which is about a woman using her naked body to convey a powerful message. The event went on till 4:30 p.m.

Kalki gave autographs and also allowed clicked selfies with fans. “The program was supposed to start at 3 p.m. but she (Kalki) reached here at 2:30 p.m. and I think that’s super nice of her as an artist. She’s a beautiful person with a pyramid of kindness and professionalism in her,” says Aashiya, a student of St. Stephen’s College who attended the event. BBC informs that there would be ten episodes in the podcast and that it would be made available on as many platforms as possible.

Feature Image Credits: Geeta Pandey

 

Ananya Acharya
[email protected]
(Inputs from Aashiya, St. Stephen’s College, University of Delhi)

Clean & Clear and MTV have come together to help young girls around the country fulfill their dreams in an initiative called ‘The Dream Project’. This project aims at reaching out to people and showing them that small things we take for granted in our lives, might be big dreams for other people. We have collected over 1000 dreams from young under –privileged girls across the country and now we are giving you and your friends a chance to make a difference!

We are launching a music video with MTV to kick off the program and the website. Here is a preview for you – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLd7EAoLgOU

We are also bringing this program to colleges and CCDs in top cities and we would love for you to help us spread the word and get all your friends and collegians involved!

Your dreams are within reach. Together, let’s help make the dreams of others come true as well.

Do log onto – http://www.thedreamproject.in/ for more details and feel free to write to us if you have any ideas on how we can make this bigger!

Few celebs have also joined by sharing their dreams with us. Click here to see what Kalki, Isha Sharvani and Nawazuddin have to say!

Kalki – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKHF4A_16Iw

Isha Sharvani – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=By_qSpAxygk

Nawazuddin – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bISYCUUsMB0

 

-The Dream Project Team