Dodging the crowded bustle and choked streets of Mumbai, five 30-something pals find an outlet for their daily frustrations playing Sunday soccer on posh Juhu Beach, until fate decrees otherwise in the gentle rom com You Are My Sunday (Tu Hai Meera Sunday). Making his feature bow, writer-director Milind Dhaimade has a firm grip on the young, beleaguered Indian middle class and subtly highlights the gender divide that separates the escapist boys from the much more mature young women they’re dating. The cast is charmingly individualized and, even if the film feels very local and rooted in Mumbai, that could also be the attraction for festivals looking for easy-viewing crowd pleasers. It bowed at the BFI London Film Festival and Mumbai’s Jio Mami fest.
The spotlight shifts from one buddy to the next, focusing on their trouble forming relationships and, more basically, just growing up. Talented but laid-back Arjun (Barun Sobti), the hub of the film, lives with his sister and her family after opting out of the corporate world, for which we are given to understand he’s eminently qualified. One Sunday, this self-described Mr. Nice Guy lets a daft old-timer tag along to their ball game, setting in motion a disastrous incident that leads to them being banned from the beach. But the old geezer (Shiv Subrahmanyam in a largely undeveloped role) also causes Arjun to meet his love interest, corporate world-er Kavi (a sophisticated and likeable Shahana Goswami), so not all is lost. That her tenacious ambition is viewed in a positive light and his disdain for the rat race is seen as a cop-out offers a nice twist on audience expectations.
A pleasant update on the Indian rom com.
Widening the film’s scope and scenery in its second act, most of the characters head for the tropical beaches of Goa for a long weekend. Though the boys finally find space to play ball and chill out, it’s also where simmering tensions come to a head. Again, there are few surprises in the scripting, but the cast is strong enough to carry a narrative without much edge to it.
In other stories, flighty womanizer Rashid (Avinash Tiwary of Yudh) gets to know a divorced mother next door, and Mehernosh (stage actor Nakul Bhalla) erupts in towering office rage in defense of a secretary abused by their boss. Vishal Malhotra plays the moody Domi, a former musician from Goa in permanent conflict with his overbearing mom and brother. There’s nothing very narratively original here, though the actors (many coming from TV) are quite vivid playing realistically flawed young adults.Though it’s a film about men, the women are the responsible, capable ones who hold down exec jobs, or raise kids with disabilities, or have extraordinary social skills able to mend fences and hurts. Rasika Dugal shines in a small maternal role.
The pace is snappy and the shooting functional. The Indian pop soundtrack is an acquired taste, with its plaintively meaningful lyrics like “Give me a reason to be alive.”
Production company: Love and Faith Films
Cast: Barun Sobti, Shahana Goswami, Vishal Malhotra, Rasika Duggal, Avinash Tiwary, Maanvi Gagroo, Jay Upadhyay, Nakul Bhalla, Shiv Subrahmanyam
Director, screenwriter: Milind Dhaimade
Producer: Varun Shah
Director of photography: Harendra Singh
Production designer: Shashank Tere
Costume designer: Nyla Masood
Editor: Shyam Salgaonkar
Music: Amartya Rahut
Casting: Anmol Ahuja, Abhishek Banerjee
World sales: Media Luna New Films
Venue: Mumbai Film Festival (India Gold competition)