Review: A love story held together by performances

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'My Story' is a love story that spans a generation, and being a long-term love story it oscillates so much between time zones making you so giddy, like being pushed back and forth in a swing, that you finally lose sense of time. Yet, despite the zig-zagness of the form, the film moves at a smooth languid, almost dreamy, pace, befitting a mature love story.

Certain momentous events in the film happen so matter-of-factly that it takes a while for the momentousness to sink in. Even the melodrama, something a story of love and betrayal cannot do without, is not in the words spoken, but in the settings. When the girl first reveals her pounding heart, for instance, she does so inside a majestic theatre in Portugal, a theatre as awe-inspiring as the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris. She is an actor, incidentally. The theatre, with its sky-high ceiling and many-decked galleries, is abandoned. There is silence, and nothing much is spoken, but still it feels as if an opera of uncontrollable and maddening passion is on. This sobriety in filmmaking is something perhaps only a lady filmmaker can infuse.

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The film is also gracefully edited, it has virtually imperceptible cuts, that it seems that one has all the time in the world to write a thesis on the small scar found on the right side of Parvathy's right eye, or on Prithviraj's funny wig that might remind the viewer of the weird ones the actors of his father Sukumaran's generation used to wear.

One end of the time zone is not the eighties, a time when actors like Sukumaran and Soman used to sport strange wigs like the one Prithviraj has on him, but the early nineties when the shooting for Bhadran's iconic 'Spadikam' had just about begun, and big stars had no use for wigs. The other end is, now, when wigs seem to be back in vogue. Though time keeps shifting seemingly providing all the drama, the film is actually propelled by the performances of two actors at the centre of the love story: Parvathy and Prithviraj.

Both have been asked to tear their hearts out, and both have done it with a vigour that is touching. The younger Prithviraj has a goofy freshness about him, it is refreshing to witness the way he lets himself go in the song 'Pathungi...' Even his cunningness has an earnestness about it. He has the admirable foolishness of a youth full of adventure. However, it bears repetition that Prithviraj's wig, especially during the younger phase of his life, is completely at odds with the character he paints. It juts out like a joke even when the man is emotionally distraught.

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Parvathy, portraying an actor at the prime of her career, exudes a stunning duality. She seems mature and perfectly in control, being the prima donna, but is at the same time heartachingly vulnerable, a child desperately in need of care. At another time, she is kinky (an adjective she herself uses). But she plays this off-tangent character at the right pitch, never letting the wackiness go over the roof. During these moments, Prithviraj keeps the film grounded. He balances Parvathy's sexy abandon with a sophistication that is sheer class.

Such a contrast is maintained in the colours, too. Rude reds and garish blues are balanced by the warmth of soft yellows and tender greens. In the later years, Prithviraj also gives himself a slight hunch that somehow gives him a gravitas that further augments his sophistication.

However, there is too much of Lisbon and Porto and their stone-paved alleyways and mighty fountains and stunning architecture in the film that one gets terribly homesick. As a character in the movie says, no place is as beautiful as Kerala.

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