'Goldfish’ a Poignant Tale of a Mother-daughter Bond by Director Pushan Kripalani
Director Pushan Kripalani’s sophomore film featuring noted actresses Deepti Naval and Kalki Koechlin brings a slice of life
Mother-daughter bonds are unique and complex too. Pushan Kripalani’s new film, ‘Goldfish’ explores this relationship- when a mother and her estranged daughter meet after several years.
Set in London and at the onset of the COVID, the film opens with Anamika (Kalki Koechlin) arriving at her mother’s house. She was summoned here by her mother’s close friend and next door neighbor Lakshmi (Bharti Patel) following a fire mishap at her mother’s home.
Anamika’s mother, Sadhna Tripathi (Deepti Naval)- an accomplished Indian classical vocalist- is slipping into dementia and cannot be left alone. Anamika is here to make a decision for her mother-to place her in a senior citizen care home.
Cinematographer turned director Pushan Kripalani debuted with ‘The Threshold,’ in 2015. Steering away from formulaic stories, this story about a married couple is interesting. After being together for more than two decades, and soon after their son’s wedding, the wife decides to leave the marriage. The writing and dialogues captured human emotions and bringing that to the fore with a realistic performance were lead actors Rajit Kapur and Neena Gupta. Kripalani’s camera work took this film a notch higher.
‘Goldfish’ is his sophomore film that he has co-written with Arghya Lahiri. Kripalani once again lets human emotions take over the characters. It’s a pleasure watching Deepti Naval back onscreen and her subtle acting bring out every nuance of Sadhana. Koechlin, another brilliant actress nails the angst in Anamika perfectly.
Focusing on the two protagonists, the screenplay gives us a glimpse into their past. We learn about Anamika's adoration for her father and know him through their conversations.
Kripalani shows how dementia afflicting elderly is a challenge for close family members who are often the care givers. If Sadhana is losing her memory, Anamika is rooted in the past. Holding onto the demons of her childhood years, she harbours anger for her mother.
Anamika is clear that her mother cannot be left alone. She has her own life too. Her partner, Richard is waiting for her return. Besides, she has to report at her new job. The answer lies in settling her in a senior care home. Not everyone agrees with Anamika though. Sadhana believes that she is well enough to take care of herself. Lakshmi asks Anamika to wait for three months before settling her in a foster home. And, who is Ashwin Raina (Rajit Kapur) to whom Sadhana has willed her house to?
The narrative that Kripalani creates has its mood, tone and theme rooted in reality. Some scenes stay with you-like the one where Sadhana shares the story of Lakshmi’s past with Anamika. Soon the conversation turns into an argument with Sadhana telling her daughter, “I should never have had you.” That was poignant and the two actresses played the perfect tango.
‘Goldfish’ with its universal theme of love and bonding is a good watch. Also don’t miss ‘The Threshold,’ now streaming online at Disney Hotstar. With his two films, Kripalani has marked his signature in bold.