With compelling performances and nuanced storytelling, ‘Three of Us’ emerges as a cinematic masterpiece, rich in beauty.
‘Three of Us’ delicately weaves a tapestry of emotions, exploring themes of love, loss, healing, awareness, and liberation. Shailaja, portrayed by Shefali Shah, grapples with the early signs of dementia, standing at the crossroads of her past, present, and future. To preserve her fading memories, she embarks on a poignant journey to revisit her childhood, confronting questions tied to a traumatic event, the monotony of her marriage, and the complexities of her future. Travelling along the Konkan coastline with her husband (Swanand Kirkire) and childhood love (Jaideep Ahlawat), Shailaja inches closer to the forgiveness and liberation she seeks. The story unfolds with the anticipation of whether she will find the satisfaction she yearns for if her husband will accept everything, if the childhood lover will win her heart, and if the closure will ever be achieved.
Shailaja’s poignant journey unfolds as she strives to reclaim a past deliberately left behind. Faced with the impending loss of her memories, her last personal odyssey draws her back to Pradeep (Jaideep Ahlawat), her childhood sweetheart. The story captures the emotional resonance of Shailaja’s pursuit, exploring themes of memory, nostalgia, and the profound impact of revisiting significant relationships before they fade away.
In Avinash Arun’s introspective film, the intricate dance between time and memory unfolds, casting a spotlight on Shailaja’s (Shefali Shah) poignant journey. The narrative navigates the eerie stillness preceding the tumultuous waves of dementia, unravelling the cherished memories and painful episodes she safeguarded in a vault. As marriage transforms into a monotonous obligation, Shailaja, drawing from her experience in a Mumbai family court’s divorce department, discerns the wear and tear afflicting relationships over time. Analogizing the mundane yet efficient Mumbai Local, the film delicately explores the gradual erosion of vitality in the face of life’s relentless passage.
Dipankar (Swanand Kirkire), Shailaja’s husband, epitomizes this quiet support. Dealing in the business of selling security through insurance plans, his presence is unobtrusive yet constant. Shailaja yearns to revisit her sleepy Konkan hometown, reliving crucial adolescent years before memory fades. Accompanying her, Dipankar and the audience embark on a lyrical journey, often contemplated but seldom planned. The narrative unveils surprises, revealing the once quiet Shailaja’s Mogambo-like past and a significant figure named Daga. As Dipankar grapples with his diminishing relevance in her life, another man’s revelation sparks a profound questioning of his place in Shailaja’s world.
Daga, now Pradeep Kamat (Jaideep Ahlawat), has evolved into a composed bank manager with a gift for words. A chance reunion with Shailaja after more than two decades rekindles his poetic prowess. Similar to Dipankar, his wife Sarika (Kadambari Kadam) is taken aback by the sudden transformation but refrains from bitterness, granting space to Shailaja. Shailaja, discreet about her deteriorating condition, elicits not sympathy but admiration for her desire to revisit the past before it fades away. The narrative unfolds, capturing the intricate dynamics between characters as they navigate the complexities of memory, relationships, and the passage of time.
Renowned for the acclaimed Marathi film ‘Killa’ and contributions to series like ‘Paatal Lok’ and ‘School of Lies,’ director Avinash Arun delves into the realms of memories and the transformative nature of time in this introspective film. The narrative prompts reflection on our tendency to boast about busyness until the luxury of ‘later’ is no longer an option. The film earnestly endeavours to find solace in the stillness of the present, steering away from an overreliance on future expectations or past analysis. While adorned with compelling performances by Shefali and Jaideep, the film struggles to achieve cohesion. Moments of emotional resonance intermittently tug at heartstrings, yet overall, scenes feel stagnant and disconnected. Shefali’s profound portrayal communicates volumes through her eyes and silences, articulating the silent eruption of trauma and the fear of losing identity and memories. The film’s climax, set within a Ferris wheel, proves to be a poignant crescendo in an otherwise meandering plot.
Centred on the themes of time’s passage, nostalgia, closure, and stillness, ‘Three of Us’ embodies a meditative and melancholic tone. Yet, akin to a fading memory, the film occasionally appears lost and uncertain, lacking a clear and consistent message. The narrative, while navigating the complex emotional landscape, falters in maintaining a cohesive direction, leaving the audience grappling with intermittent uncertainties about the film’s overarching purpose and intent. Despite its contemplative atmosphere, the film struggles to establish a steadfast narrative thread, resulting in moments of ambiguity and a sense of narrative meandering.