[Guest Author : DeepSeas]
I can’t think Straight was a much awaited movie – not the least because of its sexy trailers of the romantic scenes between Lisa Ray and Sheetal Sheth. It is based on the novel by the same name by Shamim Sarif, who has also directed the film. It is, in essence, a cute lesbian romantic story between the protagonists Tala (who comes from a rich Jordanian family) and Leyla (of Indian Muslim origin, settled in UK), neither of whom has considered any kind of Lesbian-orientation very seriously – not even properly acknowledged it to their own selves.
The movie opens with the story of Tala – a chronic engagement-breaker (she has called of 3 engagements already). The story starts with her 4th (and hopefully last) engagement. She meets Leyla through Ali –whom Leyla is currently dating. Tala comes across as an outspoken, rebellious girl with a mind of her own while Leyla is shy, introspective girl who dreams of becoming a writer. The romance unfolds slowly, with neither of them being ready to label their relationship as anything more than friendship at first. Finally one scene between Leyla and her sister, where she confronts Leyla about her friendship with Tala, brings out Leyla’s confused emotions. Matters come to a point-of-no-return when Tala and Leyla are on a holiday together and finally acknowledge their real feelings. From thereon starts the drama – as both are under pressure from their families to get married and must make a choice between family and social norms & true love and inner calling. Although, Tala seems to be the more headstrong of the two, it is Leyla who comes out to her parents first, while Tala is fearful of upsetting her parents by breaking off her engagement. At this point they break-off, only to (predictably) get back together in the end.
It is a good watch as a light breezy romantic tale however one feels some of issues, which could have been given more in-depth treatment, have been glossed over. For eg. – both the protagonists coming out to their parents scenes. The onewhere Tala comes out to her parents, is behind closed doors –even the audience is not privy to it. You would perhaps expect more turbulence in a Muslim family after such blasphemous revelations, that too by a woman. Also the attempts to provide comic relief in the form of Tala’s family’s spitting in the coffee made for the mother are rather unnecessary and very Bollywoodish. On the plus side it is watchable for its two beautiful lead actors who do their best to infuse life and vivaciousness in the plot with their performances. Sheetal Sheth in particular is a few notches higher in the acting department. The chemistry between them is good and the lovemaking scene (though not intensely passionate as ‘Bound’ or Desert Hearts] is gentle, flirty and sweet.
Nonetheless it has its own charm and do watch it once if only to not miss out on a Lesbian flick and to enjoy the lighter moments with lots of eye candy.