Tag Archives: Margarita with a Straw

Streaming Video News: January 8, 2019

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with five dozen Indian films added to the streaming catalog today. Remember all those movies that expired from Prime a couple of months ago? They’re baaaack. Well, most of ’em, anyway. Many of the Hindi titles from that batch have found their way back into the collection in recent weeks, and the bulk of the 46 Tamil movies added today are from that expired batch as well. It’s the perfect excuse for me to post Amazon’s image for one of the returned titles (I need a poster of this):

Punjabi movie fans will be excited by the influx of new additions to Prime into what had previously been a small collection of titles. In the last few days, eleven Punjabi movies joined Prime, boosting the selection from 23 to 34 Punjabi films available for streaming. The oldest of the recent additions is from 2016, and three 2018 releases were just added today: Banjara: The Truck Driver, Bhagat Singh Di Udeek, and Punjab Singh.

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with a couple of expiration dates. The Dirty Picture leaves the service on January 14, followed by Margarita with a Straw on January 15.

Streaming Video News: July 15, 2016

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with two new additions to the catalog. The Hindi-dubbed version of the 2015 Telugu historical epic Rudhramadevi is now available for streaming, as is the 2014’s Margarita with a Straw, an important drama about a disabled college student’s exploration of her sexuality. For everything else new on Netflix, check Instant Watcher.

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with one new addition — the 2004 English-language flick Indian Cowboy: A Love-Love Story.

Movie Review: Margarita with a Straw (2015)

MargaritaWithAStraw3 Stars (out of 4)

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Buy the DVD at Amazon

Margarita with a Straw is an insightful coming-of-age story about how a young woman with cerebral palsy explores her sexuality.

The focus on sex differentiates Margarita with a Straw from other stories of young people overcoming obstacles. The point of writer-director Shonali Bose’s narrative isn’t just to uplift the audience but to shine a light on an often ignored aspect of the lives of young adults with disabilities.

Laila (Kalki Koechlin) is in many ways a normal college student. She’s cheerful and outgoing. She’s interested in pornography. She writes lyrics for a rock band. She teases her best buddy, Dhruv (Hussain Dalal), for leering at women.

But Laila’s cerebral palsy distances her from her friends without disabilities. Her wheelchair limits her mobility; she spends a birthday party eating cake alone in the kitchen while the rest of the band sits out on the balcony. A speech impediment hampers her ability to communicate quickly in person, so she’s more fluent chatting online.

Dhruv, who also uses a wheelchair, levels a biting criticism at Laila, charging that spending time with “normal” people won’t make her normal. She’s devastated when her confession of romantic feelings is rejected by Nima (Tenzing Dalha), the handsome singer in her rock band.

The rejection spurs Laila to seek new adventures, and she enrolls at New York University. There she meets Khanum (Sayani Gupta), a beautiful, blind international student. Khanum — a lesbian — is the first person to express sexual desire for Laila, and Laila enters into a romantic relationship with her.

As happy as Laila is at finally finding love, she’s only been interested in men to this point. Her own confused feelings are coupled with concerns about admitting the truth to her parents.

Laila’s mother (played by Revathy) is not only Laila’s caretaker, but also her confidant. But Mom fears Laila’s blossoming interest in sex, changing the subject when Laila first mentions her crush on Nima. Whether it’s a fear of her daughter growing up or a fear of Laila being hurt, Mom is not ready to accept that her daughter is a young woman. The word “bisexual” is not in her vocabulary.

Koechlin’s commitment to her role is remarkable. Her accent is impeccable, and her every movement conveys how difficult mundane tasks are for those afflicted with cerebral palsy. While I support the idea of casting actors with disabilities to play disabled characters, I suspect that a casting notice for a “performer with cerebral palsy willing to participate in sex scenes with both men and women” wouldn’t find many takers in India.

Revathy’s performance is moving, but Mom’s role in Laila’s life comes to dominate the narrative as the movie progresses. The story is about a young woman finding her own identity outside of the shadows of her parents, but the way Laila is forced to do so feels unfair. The ending scene is well-intended but a little corny.

Nevertheless, Bose’s story is an eye-opener. Just because raging hormones don’t top the list of challenges faced by young people with disabilities, it doesn’t mean they’re not an issue.

Links

  • Margarita with a Straw at Wikipedia
  • Margarita with a Straw at IMDb