Movie Review : The Householder

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Rating – 2.5/5

I started watching this movie because of

1.    Shashi Kapoor

2.    Shashi Kapoor’s dimples

3.     Shashi Kapoor’s twinkling eyes

4.    Sigh. Shashi Kapoor

5.     Leela Naidu
6.     I can finally say I watched a Merchant Ivory movie #goals
7.    It’s about newlyweds  #stillhasntgottenold
8.    Shashi Kapoor’s smile

So many reasons to watch the movie.
 So watch it I did.

It’s okay. It’s very slow. Very very slow. I was fully prepared to watch a slow paced movie, considering this movie is from 1963, but this was snails’ pace. And not in the good let’s take a meander through the plot,  develop characters and establish the story line way. More like let’s repeat the same message over and over again in different settings.  It definitely didn’t have to be as long as it was, editing could have been better. There is an entire sub plot which could have been eliminated – the conversation between him and his colleague. At times they drill the point home too much and too often, we get it – they need more money. He can’t muster up the courage to ask for a raise.  Life is difficult. If it weren't for Shashi being so cute, I would have gotten way more annoyed way earlier. 

*don't be confused. Those pictures aren't part of the movie. He just looked too cute to not share. 

 In that sense, the movie is very true to life of a young couple anywhere in the world, let alone a young Indian couple.  Bonus points for portraying the meddling Indian mother in law properly. The director doesn’t sugar coat anything nor does he over emphasis anything to make a point. Her true evil comes out in the shadows of her acting, not in the light of it.  

Leela Naidu is a silent spectator in this movie. She was given very few lines sadly,so most of her acting is done through emoting which she did beautifully. She conveyed her emotions with single side long glances and sighs. I wish the director would have used her more. The few speaking scenes that she and Shashi have together are adorable. They made such a cute couple.

To be honest, I didn’t really understand parts of the movie, not because of language since the whole movie is in English, but because they chose to not follow through a plot point and explain it thoroughly.
Cases in point :
 1.Leela leaves for her maiden home when her mother in law gets too annoying – I get that. But why did she come back? Well not why.. but why? Like why then? Why that particular moment? She had been gone for awhile so why suddenly reappear when nothing had changed? Did a secret telegram go out that I missed? Did she sense his longing for her? Did she just miss him so much that she said f* it I’m going back to my man? Or did her parents say enough is enough you're going back?  I don’t get it. I really wish we could have seen what had spurred her decision.

2.He visits a swami towards the end of the movie – basically when shit hit the fan and he couldn’t take it anymore – at one point he wants to renounce the world. But then he doesn’t. Why did he end up not becoming a swami himself? I don’t get it. As in, why aren’t we shown why he came back from the edge?

3.And those Americans?  Seriously what is up with them?

4.What about the money problems that they never let us forget about? How is that going to work now, especially with a baby on the way?

(this could be my own neurosis talking, I need to have answers. I don’t like loose ends in movies and books. We have enough of that in real life #IMHO)

At the end of the day, it’s a love story.

They are bickering strangers in the beginning of their arranged marriage and towards the end you see a young in love couple with a baby on the way. That is the only plot in the movie that has any growth or direction. His character, that of a shy and hesitantly timid, over used under paid man doesn’t change. Her character, the little that we can glimpse, of a young innocent spunky village girl doesn’t change. They stay the same, but they learn to love instead of hate, doing the dance of compromise and adjusting that is inevitable with any new relationship.

I guess if you look at it that way, it’s a good story.  I just wish they had focused more on the couple and less on the logisitics of being a couple and the semantics of it. The sparks were flying between the lead actors and they should have capitalized on it.

*ps- clearly these reviews beg to differ with my 2.5 rating 

*pps- wanna watch it? Here you go!