Three Of Us review: A mood piece that journeys back to the beginning through the lanes of childhood!

Sakshi Sharma
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Three Of Us

Three Of Us

Three Of Us review: Avinash Arun's film is an introspective and evocative poetic piece that shoulders on the idea that sometimes when you are lost, you can be found back in the innocent lanes of your childhood!

Three Of Us review: How often have you found yourself lost down the memory lane thinking about the person that you once were, wishing to go back to the start before it all got hard? I find myself doing it quite often these days! It's like being in a limbo between lost and found, letting go and holding on! If this feeling is to be described in visual poetry, it would look like Avinash Arun's Three Of Us

Shailaja Patankar (Shefali Shah), a middle-aged woman is dealing with her early onset dementia. The years that she has spent living in the soul-sucking chaos of Mumbai and working in a family court with couples seeking formal separation has desensitised her towards that innocence in life. Dementia here is not showcased as an illness, a tragedy. It's a force to go back to that feeling of when she felt the most alive, which lies in Konkan. So she ends up taking a week-long trip with her husband Dipankar (Swananad Kirkire) through those lanes that she once walked on, the school she went to, the house that she lived in, the people she knew, and of course her long-lost teenage love Pradeep (Jaideep Ahlawat). 

As someone who has watched another complicated life-like tale between three characters unfold in Past Lives, I connected this film to that quite a few times. Especially when Dipankar's insecurities come up while watching Sahilaja and Pradeep's deep chemistry. But Three Of Us, in spite of its name, isn't about an unusual love triangle. If anything, it explores maturity in relationships. Irrespective of Sahilaja and Pradeep coming into each other's lives after 28 years, their respective partners, especially Pradeep's wife, Sarika (Kadambari Kadam) know of their commitment, respect their choice, and understand the emotions of love that was shared once. 

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Grown-ups navigate through innocent childhood days where the world that used to seem so big somehow looks smaller now, three friends reminisce their school days within the walls of a classroom with drawings on a blackboard and an old lady who lives on the hilltop isn't a witch but just a lonely soul. The beauty of this film lies in its dichotomic gaze as it isn't a picturesque depiction of life on celluloid but it is a cinema of life that just wants to capture moments without the veil of unnecessary stylisation or dramatisation. And the effect isn't lost on anyone! An emotionally scarred son talking about his traumatic past with his father, a sister recounting the horror of losing her sister, an intense conversation on closure on a ferris wheel with the backdrop of sunset, or an adult woman hiding behind a pillar in the darkness after having a moment of freedom while dancing in a dance class - all of these scenes spoke a thousand words without spelling out anything. 

Avinash Arun, as a director-cinematographer, tells you the power of visual storytelling. Everywhere Shailaja goes, she witnesses the innocence of kids all around her, whether on the train, temple, or visiting her own house as if it's through them that she revisits her childhood, not the flashbacks. He reigns in his years of experience as a DOP and speaks poetry through visual grammar and metaphors. This film combined with his earlier project, School of Lies forms an interpretation of him as a filmmaker that his unique perspective on themes of childhood, trauma and their effects are close to his heart. The brilliance of actors like Shefali Shah and Jaideep Ahlawat is that they go beyond just giving a performance. Shah finds the perfect expression of being lost and found at the same time while Ahlawat brings in a certain calming effect. And Swanand Kirkire is that casual comedic relief as well as the practicality that's necessary in this otherwise intense experience. 

Three Of Us, laced with poetry by Varun Grover, dialogues and humor that seem to be taken out of a book called real life, is as much about finding yourself once again as it is about letting go. It is an echoing ballad of what the soul can remember while learning to leave behind the baggage. It reaches out to a little light before the inevitable forever darkness. Eventually, driven by a desire to remember, it is a person's self-orchestrated act of reminiscing to bid herself a final goodbye as she is going to forget everything soon! 

Three Of Us is currently streaming in a theatre near you! 

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Jaideep Ahlawat Avinash Arun Shefali Shah Swanand Kirkire Three of Us