In an age where the words “Love Wins” echo in your ears, you can’t help but accept the purity of this emotion found in anyone, no matter who they are. Once Again, a Netflix original, is one such film that ignites you with a classic love story that resembles The Lunchbox a lot.
Once Again, is a story between two middle aged indians who have gone about most of their lives without their other halves and have now found a path to each other, for comfort, company and love. It revolves around Tara Shetty (Shefali Shah), the owner and chef at a restaurant run entirely by her to watch over her two kids, and Amar Kumar (Neeraj Kabi), a very famous actor who lives alone and is a recipient to Tara’s food through a dabba.
The two have a constant communication line through the phone everyday. When the film begins, its established that they’ve been talking for a while and know pretty much everything about each other. The beauty of this film lies in the fact that there are no backstories, it is all in the present. Amar and Tara keep getting closer to one another through the food and their phone calls. She finds it hard to inform her children about this, especially her son who is about to be married.
Amar finally shows up one day to the restaurant to meet the lady he’s been sharing all his life incidents with, Tara seems nervous in the beginning but the two get along and are seen, going on numerous dates (if you will) after that.
It so happens that, Amar’s fans manage to snap a picture of the two, which becomes the headline for the next day that happens to be her son’s engagement day. The in-laws insult her subtly, shaming her for wanting love at such an age. Her son turns against her as well. This upsets her but Amar manages to calm her down. He convinces her that it’s just news, and the news will always change the next day. This is when they share an intimate moment for the first time.
Days go by and Tara shows up to Amar’s place one day, with his dabba, where he introduces her to his film’s director as the “lady who cooks for him”. This annoys her and she storms out. Situations go by, her son gets married, Amar’s daughter and him are shown sharing a happy moment until we realise that the two are complete in their own individual roles as parents and as professionals at what they are, but as individuals, they’re incomplete without the other.
Some of the many aspects that bring the film out as a must-watch are:
- Performances: Although the character of Neeraj Kabi forces him to be the typical counterpart of a love story, Shefali Shah steals the show. Her range of emotions and her authentic and raw love that she showcases to everything in her life is one to watch the film for. She is THE person of this love story. As well the character she is playing, has her own personality and yet stands as a different personality at work, with her family and with Amar.
- Direction: Directed by Kanwal Sethi, this film is a masterpiece to watch on a gloomy night or with your significant other. Although the concept of it was not at all fresh, it still gives you the right amount of emotional rundowns, with the way the film progresses. The direction of it from the beginning to the end is all in real-time with references to the past, yet making you root for the couple that may just be imperfect together yet the best that they can get.
- Cinematography: Every scene, every moment, every camera angle in this film has a meaning. It leaves you wanting for more. Every intimate or emotional scene lingers for a second longer to make you present in the moment. This kind of cinema isn’t for everyone, the pauses are perfect, while for most it would seem long and boring. It is the perfect set of camera work I’ve ever seen.
- Background Score: The tones that set the mood in the film have a very desi vibe to them. It is a very authentic Indian music that soothes you into the love story. There is no form that westernised the story and that is what I absolutely adore. It is a clear rollercoaster of a love story from the perspective of an Indian.
In my personal opinion, Once Again is a film that I’d watch if I needed a romantic film to watch on a Sunday evening. It fulfils the angst and you vicariously live through their love story as if it’s your own.
I’d rate the film 3.5 chirps on 5!
Let us know what you think 🙂