There is a certain honesty in Rakhee Sandilya's directorial debut, Ribbon. It is about the joy and sacrifices of being in love and also about the pressures of young responsibility.
It is the story of a young couple, Sahana, a marketing analyst, and Karan, a civil engineer, living as a nuclear family in Mumbai.
The story by Eklavya Singh Bhati is original and the dialogues are everyday fare. It reveals the personalities of the characters and propels the narrative forward without many sub-plots.
The narrative begins without much ado plunging directly into the scene where Sahana finds out that she is pregnant and is in a dilemma with regard to her career prospects. This is the sort of touching realism you wouldn't expect from a regular film and yet it lends weight and importance to the sequences that follow.
While Sahana is initially shown as unready to accept the responsibilities of parenting, the film subtly suggests that Karan too isn't ready, but he is willing to accept what destiny has in store for them.
How the two cope with life, along with their daughter Aashi, forms the crux of this slice-of-life tale.
The film does not get at root causes. It does not try to explain situations. It does not lecture. All of this works in its favour to a degree. The moments between the couple are well written and played with a quiet and touching sensitivity. We see elements of real life in their relationship.
Of the two, the script tilts towards Sahana and hence seems like a woman-centric tale. Kalki Koechlin as Sahana is very impressive. She is every inch the character she portrays. Her frustrations, her anguish, and anger are all palpable.
But the silent savior of the film is Sumeet Vyas, who steals the show as the loving, sensitive and considerate Karan. Literally and figuratively, he is the crutch that Kalki leans on. Together they seem like an ideal pair.
The duo is aptly supported by Kiara Majithia as their daughter Aashi. Though perfunctory, she is cute and adorable.
Of the supporting cast, Kalyanee Mulay is striking as the imposing maid Usha Shinde. She makes an impact with her loud nuances, especially when she says "aare bala" to the little Aashi every time she cries.
The others in the supporting cast are sincere and they deliver realistic performances.
Technically, the film is astutely handled. Though with some jerky frames, Vikram Amladi's camera work, especially his lengthy shot following Kalki in her office, is worth a mention.
Ribbon is an intriguing film with a heart and though it does not offer anything out of the ordinary, it compensates for a lot of the predictability.
(Ratings: 3 Stars)