‘Gold Fish’: Superb Story Brought to Life

By Archika Khurana

Goldfish story: Anamika, a half-Indian half-English woman returns to her home in UK, to confront the challenges of her mother’s dementia and to get closure on the emotional wounds that stem from her upbringing. The film explores the complexities of the mother-daughter relationship while touching on various other sensitive themes.

Goldfish review: ‘Goldfish’ is a delicate story of family bonds, focusing on challenging circumstances which exaggerated by a strained relationship within the family. Sadhana (Deepti Naval) is grappling with memory loss, and her daughter Anamika (Kalki Koechlin) returns home to care for her despite harbouring resentment towards her mother. Both Deepti Naval and Kalki Koechlin, bring the nuances of their characters’ struggles and complex relationships to life, in an aggressive yet compassionate way. Their struggle is evident from the start, but it is handled well with the unfolding of engaging conversations between the two, which is devoid of melodrama.

It takes a special kind of talent to create such an inclusive cinematic experience, depicting the inner world of someone with mental health issues and those around her. The manner in which director Pushan Kripalani, who has co-written the screenplay with Arghya Lahiri, navigates through different moments in Sadhana and Anamika’s lives is what makes the film stand out. The film grips you through the finely written conversations between the two, and the beautiful interplay of emotions and dialogues in those moments is what makes you empathise with the characters. Additionally, Tapas Relia’s background music, which combines classical melodies, blends well and adds to the drama’s impact.

The tension and bickering between the mother and daughter stem from their shared history. The film highlights the complexities that can exist in parent and child and how with time roles and responsibilities are reversed. Eventually, whether Sadhana should be placed in a care home (for senior citizens) becomes the central source of drama, echoing themes seen in some Hollywood films like ‘The Father,’ ‘Away From Her,’ and others.

The film’s setting, mainly confined to Sadhana’s house in London and the close-knit Indian community there, creates an intimate atmosphere that effectively contributes to the storytelling. Anamika’s interactions with those around her, nurse Laxmi (Bharti Patel) and grocery shop owner Ashwin (Rajit Kapur) add further depth to the story. The use of occasional cuts to Anamika’s monologue is used as an interesting tool to add a different dimension to the film’s narrative. But in some places, it interrupts your emotional connection with the protagonists.

The film’s heart lies in Kalki Koechlin and Deepti Naval’s powerful performances. Amidst the sharp conversations between mother and daughter, there is a tender scene in which Anamika helps Sadhana drape a sari. They do not exchange dialogues, but this moment of connection is profound. Other scenes, such as when she is reading her mother’s diary and seeing photos of herself and others with name tags, are equally moving and memorable. Bharti Patel stands out as Laxmi, but Rajit Kapur is underutilised, and his relationship with Sadhana isn’t fully explored.

‘Goldfish’ offers more than a simple narrative; it lets you delve into the complex realities of its characters. This film beautifully conveys the challenges faced by caregivers and the sacrifices they make for their loved ones, making it a poignant and emotionally charged watch. — Times of India