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R for R

Critic:

Sam Quarton

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Posted on:

3 Aug 2022

Film Reviews
R for R
Directed by:
Sooraj Prabhaa
Written by:
Sooraj Prabhaa
Starring:
Aashi Shetty and Sanchi
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Zingless and devoid of dimensionality, this listless pean to sisterhood has a strange aversion to sororal kinship.

 

 

By the end of Sooraj Prabhaa’s R for R, it resembles less a short drama about a destitute pregnant woman and her elderly aunt as they attempt to navigate financial tumult in an Indian suburb, and more a paradox. It’s a film brimming to the seams with nothing: characters act – and overreact – for little reason; the inchoate plot starts a third of the running time in; the setting is 2024 yet bares no socio-cultural difference to present day India. Christ, I need a drink.

 

But perhaps worst of all in this listless paean to sisterhood is its’ illustration of familial abuse as a form of love. Take for example, the opening scene: the nameless pregnant woman, played with lamentable awkwardness by Aashi Shetty, sneaks out to scoff a packet of crisps only to be physically attacked by her baleful – and also nameless – aunt/overseer (Sanchi). It’s an odd, Draconian display of punishment against a relatively innocent vice – we’ve all done it, after all – which conjures up images of a prisoner/prison officer hierarchy, rather than sisterly kinship.

 

Aside from semi-psychotic outbursts of rage, the aunt also suffers from a magical speech impediment – a la Ben Stiller’s Simple Jack from Tropic Thunder – which appears during the first act and disappears into the abyss, never to be heard again. Has it been cured? Did we imagine it? I suppose we will never know. But it’s a wonder if the stammer has been co-opted here as a performative quirk, a substitute for nuanced character design and a mask for poor acting.

 

Shetty and Sanchi are not the sole perpetrators of this crime against logic, however. Writer-director Prabhaa must stand accountable too, who’s slipshod writing has produced two vaguely cartoonish feminine forms devoid of dimensionality and zing. It begs the question: what research has been done to actually understand the travail of women experiencing pregnancy within a maelstrom of poverty? Your guess is as good as mine.

About the Film Critic
Sam Quarton
Sam Quarton
Short Film, World Cinema