Film Review: SIR (India/France 2018) ****

Sir Poster
A prosperous young Indian man falls in love with his servant, a widow with the dream of becoming a tailor.


Rohena Gera


Rohena Gera

In the  bustling city of Mumbai, India, Ratna (Tillotama Shome) works as domestic live-in maid for Ashwin (Vivek Gomber), a man from a wealthy family.   When the film opens Ashwin, whom Ratna address as SIR throughout the film, has just returned home after his wedding had been cancelled.  Ratner and the other help are all recalled back to work, all wondering what had happened to their boss.  A glance at a TV show Ashwin is watching reveals some transgender program, implying that Aswin might be gay.  But it turns out that he is straight but not ready for marriage.    Although Ashwin seems to have it all, Ratna can sense that he has given up on his dreams and is somewhat lost… On the other hand, Ratna who seems to have nothing, is full of hope and works determinedly towards her dream.  Ratner’s dream is to become a fashion designer.   Ashwin’s is to be a writer.  Ashwin has written half a novel when he was in America studying.   As these two worlds collide and the two individuals connect, the barriers between them seem only more insurmountable.

SIR is a film about chasing once dreams with a dash of romanticism added.  But the film, though a crowd pleaser unfolds in an unconventional way in an unconventional setting that is at times astounding as audiences are often unaware of the cultural differences of people in India.  The film is shot simultaneously in Hindi and a bit of English.

The film’s best moment occurs in the scene where SIR tells his maid, Ratna to go follow her dreams.  It is a moment of transformation in the life of SIR or Ashwin where the defeated man suddenly sees hope in life to the point that he is now encouraging the one who had always been following her dreams.

The film also reveals the difference in class systems, especially for India where there is a different caste system.  A maid can never marry her employer not only for difference in wealth or social standing but because it is totally forbidden.  The secretly budding romance thus takes a completely different turn in this Indian story.

SIR is a film that ends in ways both predictable and unpredictable.  At least it does not turn up the traditional happy Hollywood ending.  It ends at a point where the two protagonists each enter a new stage in life where anything can happen.  And this is the wonder of life – and with all its surprises.

SIR turns out to be a beautifully told feel-good Cinderella story set in Mumbai that is enhanced by its culturally rich atmosphere.  An entertaining and surprise gem opening this week!

The film has won two major awards at Cannes including the prestigious Critics Week Grand Prize and numerous Audience Awards in film festivals around the world where it was shown including Amsterdam, Oslo, Portland, Minsk and Cabourg.



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