‘Three of Us’: A Meditative and Melancholic Journey into the Past

By Renuka Vyavahare

Story: Diagnosed with an early stage of dementia, Shailaja Patankar (Shefali Shah), a middle-aged woman from Mumbai decides to take a week-long break and revisit her childhood home in Vengurla, Konkan, before her memories fade.

Review: The story follows Shailaja as she embarks on a pursuit of holding onto her past that she had long put behind her. Her last journey as herself, before time robs her of her memories, takes her back to her childhood sweetheart Pradeep (Jaideep Ahlawat).

He never left his hometown, and their incomplete love story reminds her how she had vanished abruptly due to a personal tragedy 28 years ago. She owes him an explanation and a closure for herself. Joining Shailaja and Pradeep on this tragedy-stricken last dance are their respective spouses. Shailaja is married to an insurance agent Dipankar (Swanand Kirkire) and Pradeep to a very understanding Sarika (Kadambari Kadam).

Director Avinash Arun, known for the much-acclaimed Marathi film ‘Killa’ and series like Paatal Lok and School of Lies, explores memories and the alchemy of time in this self-reflective film. We boast about being busy and having no time for things that we like until there’s no privilege of ‘later’. The attempt to find solace in the stillness of the present instead of anticipating the future or dissecting the past, is moving. However, the film doesn’t quite come together despite compelling performances by Shefali and Jaideep. Some moments tug at your heartstrings but for the major part, the scenes feel stagnant and detached to each other.

Shefali speaks through her eyes and silences. Her trauma and fear of losing her identity and memories erupt quietly without making a noise. The climax shot in a ferris wheel is most effective in an otherwise meandering plot.

Jaideep skilfully lends both excitement and awkwardness to his character that justify his circumstances. He slightly blushes when looked in the eye. He is a fine actor hands down but his casting as a local in the Sindhudurg district of Maharashtra feels a bit odd though given his North Indian background and command over Hindi without a Malvani or Maharashtrian twang. Swanand Kirkire and Kadambari Kadam present relatable characters who aren’t as ordinary as they seem.

Revolving around the passage of time, nostalgia, closure, and stillness… ‘Three of Us’ is meditative and melancholic. However, like a dwindling memory, the film feels lost and unsure of what it wants to say at regular intervals. — Times of India