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(aka "Choone Chali Aasman" )

 

directed by Shonali Bose, Nilesh Maniyar
India 2014

 

Laila (Kalki Koechlin, THAT GIRL IN YELLOW BOOTS) is a Mumbai college student with cerebral palsy who writes lyrics for her college band. She is also somewhat of a late bloomer when it comes to sexuality, having experimented with her paraplegic cousin Dhruv (Hussain Dalal, 2 STATES) who is resentful when she suggests they explore other people. Her moment of triumph at a music contest is shattered when the well-meaning judges announce that they awarded her band the prize because of her disability and then handsome lead singer Nima (Tenzing Dalha) rejects her advances. Determined not to go back to college, Laila is surprised when she is accepted into NYU's writing program and her mother Aai (Revathy, ANJALI) encourages her to go since she is concealing her own battle with colon cancer. Traveling to New York with her mother planning to stay with her for the first month, Laila navigates the new terrain and strange people independently, experiencing new freedoms but also being reminded of her perceived limitations on a daily basis. Her writing teacher assigns her a writer to transcribe her thoughts despite the fact that can type, and Laila nearly rejects him until she discovers it is handsome Jared (William Moseley, TV's THE ROYALS) but she feels that he is way out of her league. Joining in a police brutality protest, she meets amidst the tear gas blind Indian/Bangladeshian immigrant Khanum (Sayani Gupta, PARCHED) whose independence, worldliness, and uninhibited sexuality Laila envies; especially the latter when Khanum makes a move on her. Moving in with Khanum, she still fears coming out to her family, and is further torn between wanting to be normal (or at least normal-adjacent) and discovering who she is independently of family, friends, and those with which she has formed physical and emotional ties as her sexual exploration proves both liberating and destructive. One of the finalists for the Sundance/Mumbai Mantra screenwriting program, MARGARITA WITH A STRAW is not just a feel good movie about a disabled character, but it addresses the unexplored (in cinema) issue of sexuality and disability. Although (or possibly because) Koechlin is one hundred percent convincing in her role, the viewer immediately identifies with her as just any other young person looking for love and exploring her sexuality with all of the contradictory emotions and sometimes self-destructive consequences that one wonders how anyone could be shocked that she has sexual desires and the tenacity to explore them.

Eric Cotenas

Theatrical Release: 14 June 2016 (USA)

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DVD Review: Wolfe Video - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Distribution

Wolfe Video

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:40:48
Video

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 8.55 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio English/Hindi Dolby Digital 5.1; English/Hindi Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Subtitles English SDH, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Wolfe Video

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
� Behind the Scenes Featurettes:
� - 'A Very Personal Journey' (16:9; 3:47)
� - 'The Birth of Laila' (16:9; 4:51)
� - 'Production is a Roller Coaster Ride' (16:9; 3:14)
� - 'The Racist Cops Have Got to Go!' (16:9; 4:17)
� - 'First Day of Shooting NYC - Kick Some Ass!' (16:9; 2:14)
� Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 2:53)
� Previews

DVD Release Date: June 28th. 2016
Amaray

Chapters 9

 

 

 

Comments

Wolfe Video's dual-layer DVD provides a high bitrate, progressive, anamorphic widescreen presentation of this digitally-photographed film which looks great apart from one stuttering tilting camera shot that I would think was a PAL-conversion artefact had the DVD not been mastered from an HD source. The original Hindi/English mix is provided in an immersive Dolby Digital 5.1 mix that is fairly active throughout but really comes to life during sequences with live or source music. An English Descriptive Audio tracks is also provided in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo. English subtitles are burnt-in for the Hindi dialogue as well as dialogue in Hindi and English for Laila while optional English SDH subtitles are provided for the rest of the dialogue, music, and sound effects notations. Extras consist of five short featurettes covering the origins of story (initially based on the director's cousin who has cerebral palsy but taking on other elements when the director tragically lost one of her sons at age sixteen), actress Koechlin' preparation for the role by shadowing the director's cousin and visiting India's ADAPT (Able Disabled All People Together), shooting in India and then on location in New York (with some pushback from the American crew about Indian perceptions of them), and the protests over police brutality during the shooting period.

  - Eric Cotenas

 


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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

Distribution

Wolfe Video

Region 0 - NTSC

 



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