Though a handful of films released directly on TV in the late 80s and the early 90s, it was a trend that never really picked up. However, with the advent of the digital age, a lot of producers find the option of releasing their films on a streaming platform more viable than putting it out in theatres.
‘Yours Truly’ was shot towards the end of 2017 and made rounds of several film festivals last year, released on Zee5, an OTT platform. This is the first Hindi feature film directed by Sanjoy Nag, who has earlier directed a English feature (‘Memories In March’) and a Bengali film (‘Parapaar’).
Mithi Kumar (Soni Razdan) shares a part of her old family home with her tenants which comprises of Vijay (Pankaj Tripathi), his wife and a daughter. She is the only resident on the first floor, the part of the house which she lives in. For years, her loneliness has been her constant companion. She works in a government office where people are from being affable. In this quiet and lonely life, the only thing that gives her some happiness is the voice of a railway announcer. She finds comfort in his voice and starts writing letters to him. Will she ever get to meet him?
The first few minutes of the film introduce us to Mithi’s world. Even the train that we see from her window in the first shot is an integral part of her life. The film has a runtime of one hour and sixteen minutes and yet, it feels a little long. Perhaps, giving one a broader glance into Mithi’s life or tapping into a few more aspects into her personality would have helped one relate to the story a little better. There are several moments that register a strong impression and the nuances in the narrative come to the fore well. We get to know Vijay’s voice only through her voice and not her face. We get to know about the parochial mindset she adheres to and her disdain towards her own daughter who happens to be differently abled. Mithi’s need for companionship and the silent suffering she goes through on a regular basis as a result of her loneliness is palpable throughout the film.
The film’s biggest strength, without a doubt, is Soni Razdan’s performance. The actress, whom we do not get to see in too many films, has been aptly cast in the role of an ageing, lonely woman. Her devout performance, in a way, drives the film. Aahana Kumra gets limited scope but leaves a mark as Laali, Mithi’s younger sister. Pankaj Tripathi’s role reminds one of similar characters the actor has portrayed in the recent past. Vinay Pathak does a very good job with the voiceover. Mahesh Bhatt is fine in a cameo.
While I still believe every film deserves a theatrical release, perhaps releasing certain films on digital platforms where it is easier to distribute them across a wide network with limited print and publicity costs, is not a bad idea after all.