Margarita, With A Straw: An Extravaganza Of Cocktail Emotions

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Besides your acne studded face, what is the first thing that comes to your mind when I mention adolescence? Well, the answer is quite obvious, isn’t it? Adolescence to most of us, translates directly into those endless tales of infatuation, right? I can, still, feel those little butterflies fluttering their wings. Can you, too? However, can a girl suffering from visible disabilities be smitten with infatuation, too? Of course, she can.

Years ago, Shonali Bose’s cousin with cerebral palsy wanted sex for her birthday. We don’t know if her wish was fulfilled or not. What we do know, however, is that Shonali got her inspiration to make a movie, which came to be known as Margarita, With A Straw.

A well-intentioned, emotionally unswerving movie, Margarita, With A Straw is the story of Laila, a young girl who is grappling with cerebral palsy. The movie explores her journey through her adolescence and the way she meets sexual surges head on. A slice of life from her diary, Shonali Bose’s movie is about disability and bisexuality, and how Laila doesn’t permit her disability to interfere with her love life. Well, if this information is not enough for you to book your tickets and catch the first day first show, tomorrow, here’s a surprise for you. Having garnered loads of accolades, already, the movie captures Kalki Koechlin in what the critics call, her best performance ever.

Unrealistically real, Shonali’s attempt at making a not-so-maudlin movie has paid off, and how! Making an international premier at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) on September 8, last year, Margarita, With A Straw won the prestigious NETPAC award there. Also, it was the one and only Indian film to have won an award at TIFF in 2014. Commemorating Kalki’s acting triumph; the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival accredited her with the Best Actress award.

Scheduled for a national release tomorrow, here is a little gem of a movie with a rather long trail of awards, arriving at the theatres near you. The title of the film refers to Laila’s maiden alcoholic drink, one that she orders after she has made it to New York from Delhi. Imprisoned in a wheelchair, Laila is a packet of talent. Writing lyrics for her school’s rock band, she finds her knees going weak for the band’s lead vocalist. Having been rebuffed by him, she becomes distraught with depression. In order to encourage her to complete her studies, her ever-supporting mother takes her to the New York University. A roller-coaster ride thus on, Laila finds herself smitten with Jared, her college-mate. Delving deep into exploring her sexuality, she falls in love with a blind girl, Khanum.

Like most mainstream Bollywood films, Margarita, With A Straw, too, goes rather lackadaisical post interval. But, to my mind, Shonali’s movie is nothing like how the conventional Hindi movies usually are. After all, how many movies in Bollywood dare to depict protagonist who is a sprightly young girl with blurry speech, impaired motor skills and same-sex tendencies?

Sangeeta Purkayastha

Image Source: The Viewspaper