Ribbon review: Kalki Koechlin, Sumeet Vyas' story hits you hard after a slow start

Overall rating: 3
Sumeet Vyas and Kalki Koechlin try hard to give their daughter a perfect life in Rakhee Sandilya's Ribbon. But do they succeed?

On the face of it, Ribbon seems nothing more than a movie talking about millennial relationships, but the plot twist in the second half shakes you to the core. Phrases like ‘Tinder pe hot ladki mili hai’, ‘let’s get drunk’, ‘don’t be a corporate slave’, are blended in the narrative in a way that gives you a breezy feel of young and urbane Mumbai. Sahana (Kalki) and Karan Mehra (Sumeet) are a couple whose life turns upside down after an unplanned pregnancy. As the story progresses, it becomes clear that this was only the beginning of a rocky ride.

Sumeet’s demeanor is reminiscent of Mikesh, his character from Permanent Roommates, on more than one occasion. But that is not a bad thing at all. Sumeet’s Karan Mehra is an antidote to the fiery Sahana. He is calm but unfortunately, makes the mistake of overestimating his ability as the problem-solver in the relationship.

On the other hand, the hotheaded Sahana, somehow manages to juggle office sexism and her role as a mother of a new-born. She stands up for her rights and more often than not finds herself at the receiving end of a truckload of problems. Despite their flawed characters, Sahana and Karan’s attempt to build a perfect life for their daughter Aashi is commendable. But do they succeed in achieving it? No. Are they to be blamed? Absolutely not. After all, perfection is delusional.

Also read: Here’s what makes Sumeet Vyas’ confused millennial characters relatable AF

Almost every frame of the movie has Kalki or Sumeet or both of them. Their chemistry looks real. Sumeet seems cut out for this role. Kalki’s character is just like what the trailer promised. The actress depicts the sacrifices of a new mother, but it is in Vyas’ presence that she shines more. When tragedy hits, their life as a couple gets scattered, but the beauty and the strength of their relationship never cease to impress.

Also read: Interview: Sumeet Vyas tells why expecting everything from your partner is too much

My advice is don’t go to the theatres expecting to watch a short, light-hearted, slice-of-life film. The movie deals with far more important issues. It grabs the issue of sexism in the corporate world by the horn and delivers quite a punch. Sahana’s demotion from the position of strategic manager to an analyst post her maternity leave, or the issue of paternity leave is tackled well. Sahana coming home to find her maid is having a party with her family, while her unattended child is crying is heart-breaking. It poignantly brings home the fact that no one can be trusted with the well-being of your child in a big city.

Also read: Interview: Kalki Koechlin speaks her mind on Ribbon, institution of marriage, pregnancy and paternity leaves

For at least 45 minutes, Ribbon looks like a web-series episode. The story or direction of Rakhee Sandilya falls short of the intrigue element. Everything goes just by the book- a couple fighting, falling apart and then kissing to make up. Until Rakhee decides to wake everyone up with a bomb of a twist. The movie doesn’t have too many dialogues or an extraordinary screenplay. But it has a decent story and a great plot-twist that works in its favour. And it certainly takes you to an uncomfortable zone – like most good films are supposed to do.

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