Three Of Us, For Which Shefali Shah Got Best Actor Female Critics’ Award, Is All About Memories…

Three of Us. Who are they? Are they the protagonist Shailaja, her husband, and her childhood love? Or is it the past, present, and future of Shailaja? Watch the film.

The genre of film has become inseparable from the life of an ordinary human being. The world of films endows one with a world of varied shades in shards. Some flicks don’t leave us even after we leave the platforms of celluloid miracles. Some haunt us, some grip us, some move us, some exemplify us and some make us ponder over the leitmotifs for long. It does not matter whether the film has hit the box office or whether it has been nominated for awards but the quality and the timelessness of the theme do matter!

I came across one such movie quite recently on the platform of Netflix. My husband felt it was a must-watch one for me. Without hesitation, I embarked on the cinematic journey of Three of Us carving out a moment of respite from the mundane chaos of everyday life.

“Memory is the diary we all carry about with us”, says the renowned writer Oscar Wilde.  What happens if our memory betrays us? What happens if daily routine becomes vague and usual happenings pass out of mind? We tend to take a break from the lunacies and absurdities of mundane life. Avinash Arun takes us on one such journey through the narrow crossroads and by lanes of childhood memories.

The movie Three of Us screened at the recent IFFI unravels the labyrinth of human emotions blurring in the shards of memories. Shailaja Patankar played flawlessly by Shefali Shah takes us to the world of a woman diagnosed with dementia and the way she tries hard to fit into the daily rhythms.

Three of Us – who are these three?

Shailaja is in the initial phase of early onset dementia. She comes out of the fettters of her job in the family court and sets her mind free to roam around in her childhood fantasies. Her husband Dipankar, an insurance agent, joins her to fulfill her cherished desire to gather her repertoire of childhood images. When memories begin withering, when the humdrum of daily life despises you for your inability to remember things, it’s better to try once to feel some solace to overcome this catastrophe.

Shailaja’s journey to the vllage of Vengurla along with her husband turns out to be the real journey to find her origin (Udgam). The village brings her to life, comfy with the shades of humans and the surroundings. She revisits her eighth standard classroom with her friends whom she meets after twenty-eight long years. The mogambo and daga of childhood come afresh in her memories. The bonding and childhood friendship make us feel that they are still close no matter how different and distant they are geographically.

She comes across her childhood incomplete love, Pradeep Kamat who is a bank manager by now. He becomes a companion to the ‘wonderful strange’ plans of Shailaja and Dipankar. Pradeep’s wife Sarika also supports him in fulfilling the wish of his childhood friend who has inspired him scribble a poem after eons, about origins – Udgam. Shailaja is in search of her origin and trying to fix the withered pages of her life in the village that slowly unfurls the dark stories of her family and sister.

It’s commendable how the wife and husband pairs of the film support each other. Seeing the happiness and attachment of Shailaja with her childhood land and Pradeep, Dipankar asks her, “Were you this happy with me? She retorts “When we were sad last time?” The chemistry and the relationship they nurture make one sense of the companionship and the possibility of bestowing a new ending to her life.

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The mind of Shailaja

Shailaja is known and shown to us as two different personas in the background of a city and a village. She mixes easily and talks curiously with her childhood friends, she dances, she plays with kids, and she goes to the good old home where memories good and dark lie afresh. She tries to connect herself to the past and get rid of the dark stories that have clouded her for a long. Her husband gives her enough space to mingle with all her friends, especially Pradeep.

There is a scene in which she tries to free the memory of her phone so that she can save enough photographs. Freeing of space is also trying to free her from the space of unheard stories lying hidden in her mind’s storage cloud. In the scene where the English teacher is introduced, she says a photograph is the drawing of light. The teacher’s husband who was a photographer is no more although he remains alive in the presence of the images captured. He is not seen in most of the pics but his drawing of light demarcates the presence of glorious rays and the apprehensions of the future.

The movie concludes with her last wish to have a ride on the Ferris wheel before they leave Vengurla. Pradeep gives her company and together they try to unravel the stories lying in their childhood recesses. Shailaja’s fast-fading memory will soon prevent her from recognizing her son studying at IIT. The bold woman in her is experiencing and accepting everything with a happy and smiling face. It makes the audience feel the cycle of life must go on like the movement of the Ferris wheel. It can be interesting, horrifying, thrilling, and tiring. Still, one has to accept thinking of it as part and parcel of life.

This is all in all of us

Three of Us can be seen in all of us; the bygone past, the troubling present, and the uncertainty of the future in any human being’s life. The child, wife, mother, and working woman images of Shailaja make one realize it’s time for her final photograph. Let that final drawing of light cherish her soul forever. The alchemy of time unravels a brilliant connection with the bygone days, people, and things around her. The melange of emotions veritable in a human’s life makes this film special and worth watching.

Avinash and crew have done a remarkable job in drawing lights across the varied frames with the symphony of rhythms reverberating the shades of life in its wish to recollect and reconnect. “Time and memory are true artists, they remold nearer to the heart’s desire”. The dictum proves true in the alchemy of Shailaja’s time frame.

A movie worth watching to find a room of one’s own always and in all ways!

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About the Author

Dr. Aparna Ajith

Anvik Baby's Mom/ An Assistant Professor in English/ Author of 'Musings of Venus'/ A Freelance Journalist. Above all, an epic weirdo with an unfading zest for life and its exhilarating/exhausting journeys! read more...

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