Remember the beautiful Jennifer Kendall as Violet Stoneham in 36 Chowringhee Lane? And remember her niece Rosemary (Soni Razdan), whose marriage leads to the beginning of the former’s loneliness? If, in an alternate life, Rosemary were to end up living a similar life as her aunt, she would be a lot like Mithi Kumar, the protagonist of the silent-yet-poignant Yours Truly.
Essayed by the extremely underrated Razdan, the story traces the life and times of Mithi, now in the autumn of her life, looking for a little shade of spring that forever eluded her life. She leads a monotonous lifestyle, travelling from the outskirts of Kolkata to the insides of the city, where she works as an employee in a public bank filled with snarky, considerably unfriendly colleagues. At 57 and on the brink of her retirement, she reflects upon her two constants – one being her maid, who she refers to as her true companion, and the other being a voice (Vinay Pathak).
And unlike the voice of God, in which the narrator talks of a particular perspective that majorly encourages propaganda, this voice becomes the voice of her soul, who guides her, speaks to her when she needs it the most and becomes a source of reasoning. Her travel distance from her home to office is quite long – she first travels by a rickshaw, then takes a train and then a ferry to go to office, and the only thing that stays with her throughout is the voice of the train announcer, now a part of her imagination.
As the viewers dive deeper into her life, they realise just why she has that voice somewhat in-built in her mind. She has an eight-year ‘relationship’ with the announcer, to whom she writes letters to. She pours her heart out and imagines him talking to her, even when he doesn’t respond – he hasn’t, as she mentions in one of her letters, in the last three times she’s written to him. This makes her question his existence for a little while too, a thought she quickly rules out even as she finds no one at the announcer’s office one day when she decides to pay a visit there.
Her pain and loneliness is spoken of, very subtly and beautifully, in two little scenes. One has her playing sindoor khela with herself during Durga Puja, which is otherwise a custom wherein women smear vermilion on each other. But she’s all by herself, so she does it all by herself. The other is when she hears her tenants having loud sex. She goes by the mirror for just a while, opens her bun and imagines a hand caressing her. Your heart goes out to her as she does so, as she continues to deal with it all, all by herself.
The only time she actually lets off her guard is when she gets drunk at her colleague’s farewell party. And that too happens because she knows her little sister Laali (Aahana Kumra), who lives in Bangalore, is home for a few days. She knows she has, for once, someone to lean on.
The film, at large, is quiet. There aren’t too many dialogues, but several thoughts are reflected just through narration. It captures natural sounds most of the time, and when not, the voice inside Mithi’s head narrates her story. Every scene, right from the introductory scene to the one in the climax, has her travelling from one place to another, majorly alone, depicting just the amount of loneliness that creeps in within her at times, in sickness or in health. Her interactions are very limited other than the ones with her sister and her goofy tenant (Pankaj Tripathi), who lives with a constantly shouting wife, his daughter, and a future-telling parrot Yudishtir, who pretty much like his Pandava namesake from Mahabharata, always speaks the truth – atleast according to Tripathi.
Razdan is enigmatic as Mithi. She is as natural as the film itself, almost making the viewer believe that she is the protagonist. Needless to say, her smile, her eyes, they would remind the millennials so much of her daughter Alia Bhatt that one can’t help but revel on the family’s acting genes. Kumra and Tripathi, in short roles, are impactful, goofy and brings a fun element to the otherwise somber film.
The climax is bittersweet, as Mithi finally gets an answer to her questions, but then not so much. And quite fittingly so. It’s an uncomplicated, simple film with deep, complex emotions, meant to be appreciated for its approach. We give it 3.5 chirps with a hope to see more of Razdan.