By Rachit Raj
Mithi Kumar (Soni Razdan) is a person we all know. She is a middle-aged government employee who finds happiness in the little distractions of life. A selfie with a pregnant colleague, a pet puppy, a night of carefree conversations with her younger sister. Away from these moments, Mithi is a lonely woman who continues to write letters to a man who is essentially nothing more than an idea of a lover.
Truth, in that sense, is an important character in Yours Truly. Director Sanjay Nag builds the narrative around Mithi’s conversations with the announcer whose voice at the railway station brings her an inexplicable sense of joy. These conversations, carried out by letters, develop the emotional core of Mithi’s journey. And yet, for the longest of times the narrative plays with the idea of a lover in ways that Ritesh Batra directed The Lunchbox did not. In Batra’s narrative, the presence of the other was never in doubt. Nag, however, explores the psyche of Mithi, her fantasies that do not need the nod of her pen-lover being a real person.
Early in the movie, Mithi writes to the unnamed announcer about the idea of hope. She speaks about how hope can be both destructive and constructive. The rest of the film is essentially about this idea of hope. Mithi lives in the hope of meeting that announcer one day. It is that hope that helps her live through the endlessly long nights where she is haunted by the sexual groaning of her tenant that juxtaposes with her lonely, sexless life.
The only time she lets those voices come to her is when she is inebriated with her sister Lali (Ahaana Kumra). In a fantastic scene, the two sisters bond over drinks as they laugh over the secrecy that surrounds sex in our society. As individuals, Mithi and Lali are poles apart. Courtesy to a massive age-gap they almost belong to different generations. This is further evident by the way they look at life. Lali does not hide the fact that she is sleeping with her boyfriend, while Mithi is reluctant to share her fascination for the railway announcer even when she is alone with Lali. Yet, as is the case in most Indian families, they connect in their moments of absurdities. The beauty of their relationship lies in the tiny bits that, when assembled together, make for a fantastic love story between two siblings.
Yours Truly is a fascinating take on a middle-aged, single woman who is employed in a government job but not invested in it enough to forget her somber reality. At one point in the movie, Vijay (Pankaj Tripathi), Mithi’s tenant, asks a parrot to predict Mithi’s future. He says the parrot predicts happiness for her in the near future. As the film ends and we see Mithi standing at the railway station, alone and dissatisfied, one wonders if the happiness for Mithi was limited to those little distractions of life.