Jul 20, 2019
Saturdays are always made better with another review from One Movie Spouse. We put today’s feature on hold after cleansing the palette last week from “Midsommar” with “Toy Story 4”. I have a stack of Bollywood films for Amy to review, and today feels like a good place to start. It’s a favorite genre of hers, and who am I to complain? For a few other Bollywood films, check out Andrew Campbell’s review for “Tumbbad” (Episode #432), “15 August” (Episode #495), and our recent re-run of “Lust Stories” (Episode #532). I promise you we’ll get to all the ones we’ve missed lately!
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Here we go!
Hi there, it’s me Amy, AKA One Movie Spouse. ::MWAH:: It must be summer vacation because I have had time to indulge in watching two films this week! Stay tuned for a preview of next week’s film after the review!
Today’s movie is “The Music Teacher” (2019), a Netflix Original drama written and directed by Sarthak Dasgupta with dialogue written by Guarav Sharma. The film follows the story of Beni Madhav Singh (Manav Kaul), a music teacher in a hillside area, and Jyotsna Ray (Amrita Bagchi), his former student turned Bollywood star. With her return impending, Beni has much to come to terms in his own life and his former relationship to Jyotsna.
Full disclosure: I absolutely LOVE Bollywood films! I jump at every opportunity to watch them when they appear on Netflix or other streaming services. I can’t pinpoint the exact films that started my love for Bollywood, but it was likely in Denver, CO at our local Blockbuster, circa 2001, as my hubby and I were newly married looking for something to watch together. Second disclosure: I am in NO WAY an expert on Bollywood films! I simply enjoy watching them for a glimpse of Indian music, culture, and life. Be sure to watch this film in Hindi with English subtitles. It will take you out of your living room and right into the film.
The first third of this film is told in present day, before flashing back to when Jyotsna’s parents hire Beni to be her music teacher. The film then moves between the two timelines, telling a strong story, adding tension to the plot, and helping the audience to understand Beni’s conflicted, and often lacking, emotions. Beni struggles with his family duties to his sister Urmi (Niharika Lyra Dutt), an arranged marriage following the death of their father. He reflects often on his life’s choices, especially after Jyotsna’s hometown concert is announced. We learn more about her rise to stardom and their complex relationship. In particular, his dialogues with his mother Madhavi (Neena Gupta) force him to understand his own dreams and path to happiness in his own life. One particular moment of dialogue really stood out to me, when she says as Beni feels stuck, “Sometimes you just need to get things done and they don’t need to be done perfectly.”
The costumes, set design, and extensive outdoor scenes make you feel very connected to the characters and storyline. During Urmi’s wedding scene, the traditional ceremony and rituals invite you in to be part of the family celebration in a house overflowing with guests. Beni’s many contemplative scenes have him at scenic overlooks and outdoors among the green hillsides and overcast skies, all adding to the tone to the film. The music is amazing. Jyotsna has an amazing voice and a graceful stage presence. It’s easy to believe how the small town would be very proud of her return.
Overall, this story is beautifully told. I have intentionally left out key details to preserve the initial viewing experience. I did not find this film to be predictable, and enjoyed watching the plot unfold right up to its final moments.
“The Music Teacher” is a bittersweet film about relationships and achieving your dreams. It features great characters, beautiful scenery and amazing music. Bollywood fans, and fans of drama reflecting on life’s choices, will enjoy this film.
Rotten Tomatoes: NR
One Movie Punch: 8.0/10
“The Music Teacher” (2019) is rated TV-14 and is available on Netflix.
Tune in to One Movie Punch next Saturday for my review of “Late Night” starring, Mindy Kaling and Emma Thompson, two brilliant women in one very funny comedy. See you then! ::MWAH::