Film Ribbon highlights biases against women

Srimoyee Tamuli Phukan

 You realize a film has done something for you – touched a chord, moved a piece of your heart – when it makes writing about it lot more difficult than how you had imagined it in your head. Ribbon, the film, starring Kalki Koechlin and Sumeet Vyas, did that for me today. Ever since I wrapped it up, I couldn’t take my mind off it entirely. It wasn’t a great thing that I had to hold my thoughts before I could pour them out here. Instead what awaited was a pile of dishes looking at me challengingly, and a brain that refused to work as I stood infront of the fridge and contemplated dinner. And it was Kalki’s disarmingly realistic portrayal of a young urban woman that was reeling in my head. Too bad I had already decided a crappy dinner over palatable. And wanted to devote all my time thinking about the movie, engaging in thoughts of what to highlight and what to not reveal. As I know how painful spoilers can feel! (that even rhymed!)

Hence without completely ruining the film for you, I would give you a little sneak peek into the lives of this urban middle class family that is relatable on so many accounts. The daily commute to work, the EMIs, the family responsibilities, professional aspirations, and just generally, the dream of climbing up the ladder. Sounds all too familiar? But what probably sets this film apart is the care and sensitivity with which the writers and the director have presented some of the most mundane matters of life that sets the tone for the film. Whether it is the choice of showing who makes the morning tea, or who is the peacemaker, or the people that we depend on to carry on with our lives – each of these aspects bring a straw to build the nest, and in this case, the story. 

The film deftly highlights some of the gross biases that are often meted out toward women at work places. And instead of serving as a mere comment, it delves deep into what such behavior can do to her on a mental and emotional level. And the many ways in which she comes out victorious, till society throws another ball at her. 

The story beautifully captures the essence of what it is like to be a woman who is always under scrutiny, whether it to prove her worth professionally, or as a working parent. But this film is a departure from the usual stance that a story like this is expected to take. And effectively complicates the narrative to emphasize the issue. 

It is particularly careful in the way it deals with the issue with children in this day and age where threats lurk in every corner. And treats the emotional struggle of a couple to deal with such a situation with great sensitivity. 

The tone of the film sets a sense of foreboding running tough it at all times. When everything seems to be going right you are crippled by thoughts of bad news that lurks in the next turn. And the writers don’t disappoint. With each new turn, we are presented with newer and greater challenges. 

The film is also a scathing remark on the institutions motivated by their self-serving agendas that often fail to protect our children. And how, probably, as a society, we lack the efficiency to deal with problems such as this family faces.

Besides great direction, the film is memorable for the little moments it creates that cleverly reveal something about its characters and their state-of-mind. Its dialogues keep it breezy and believable, the arguments (bound to be many, they are married remember?) come off sounding like they are being mouthed by the couple living next door. 

The cast of the film is spot on. Both the actors in lead roles have done a remarkably good job. Kalki is top notch in painting the arch of a woman from her younger professional days to the role of a working mother. Sumeet Vyas too is bound to win hearts as an affectionate and responsible husband. 

Ribbon is an essential film that mirrors our society with great honesty and asks some relevant and important questions. Now why the title Ribbon you ask? I am sure we will all interpret it differently. To me, it is ‘what ties us together’ – whether it is a family as a unit, or a society. Now if I really had to pick on something about the film it would probably be the couple of times when its pace drops. But that is a minor quibble in the larger picture of a tale told exceedingly well. 

Go watch Ribbon, it’s worth your time. 


Director: Rakhee Sandilya

Screenplay: Manjiri Pupala, Rakhee Sandilya, Rajeev Upadhyay, Raghav Dutt

Pic.:RIBBON, poster, l-r: Sumeet Vyas, Kalki Koechlin, 2017. ©Red Cart Films/courtesy

Srimoyee Tamuli Phukan

Srimoyee Tamuli Phukan

Srimoyee Tamuli Phukan is a freelance writer and editor with Qatar based Magazines, ‘Qatar Today’, ‘UK Glam’, ‘Campus’ and ‘Just Here.’ She has worked as an Editor with Cambridge University Press, New Delhi, and holds a Masters in English from University of Delhi and an M. Phil degree in English Literature from English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad. She enjoys sharing her views on Hindi cinema, art and culture and travels over her blog: In her free time she day-dreams about writing a script for a film one day that will change the course of her life.