Love is a mystery. Love is unitive. Love is how we connect as human beings with one another and with the whole universe together. Love is how we learn, become better, and make the world a better place to live for us and others. Love needs freedom to breathe, equality to thrive, and openness to flow and grow. Love is personal, political, sexual, philosophical, social, historical, metaphysical, transcendental, et al. Sadly, we have only one word to describe such a complex emotion. The ancient Greeks had six different words, but even that’s not enough. 2021 taught me new ways to describe the complexity of love and its various hues. Love lost on many counts, but it miraculously sprang on a few occasions like a phoenix. My LOVE vocabulary was defined and redefined by people who touched my life one way or another this year.shillpi a singh
LOVE IS LIFE: Nirmal Anand Ki Puppy
True, we love life, not because we are used to living, but because we are used to loving. There is always some madness in love, but there is also always some reason in madness.Petrach
Filmmaker Sandeep Mohan’s Nirmal Anand Ki Puppy gives away a hint in its title itself. And yes, you guessed it right. A puppy is at the core of this little gem, be it the dog Parie or a kiss, also called puppy in common parlance, and the twain have intertwined beautifully to take the plot forward.
The film opens with an Insta feed where Nirmal Anand (Karanveer Khullar) is busy playing and cuddling his dog Parie as wife Sarah (Gillian Pinto) captures the tender moment. The relationship between the three picks pace as the movie progresses. The young couple, played with a lot of sincerity by Khullar and Pinto, seems the neighbour next door. They are happy in their lives, with Nirmal working as General Manager in a pharma company that manufactures a health supplement to keep diabetes at bay. His wife takes care of the home, Parie, and kids (a daughter with the couple’s second baby on the way) while juggling her career as an archivist, working on a freelance basis in between the daily grind.
The mundane routine of their lives has been depicted with many credible elements on the screen, with Mohan using clever dialogues and situations to make it an endearing watch.
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The usual tropes of domesticity add to the drama. The interfaith couple faces many adjustment issues with their respective families after the runaway wedding, including the name of their newborn son.
Their happy life soon hits a roadblock when the man of the house is diagnosed with lifestyle disease, and the twists that follow make the couple use different coping mechanisms to deal with the trials and tribulations to keep their lives going. Nirmal takes refuge in looking for an alternate career as an actor for a filmmaker he met at a Yoga studio. At the same time, Sarah engrosses herself in restoring memories from archival materials like old cassettes for a client. She can’t help but get charmed by the dead man whom she talks to and even dreams about because he strums a guitar and sings love songs to woo her, all in mushy dream sequences. The track fills her with self-doubt, and it ends pretty abruptly for the audience.
To make his role as a Taxi Driver (where Robert De Niro meets Nana Patekar) look authentic, Nirmal takes leave from work and spends days and nights driving a taxi around Mumbai. At the same time, Sarah gives birth to a boy and gets back to a full-time job, shifting base and moving out of their marital home to live with her mother.
Nirmal’s short reel life kiss with a co-star disturbs the peace in their real lives, leaving their relationship in a tizzy and showing their vulnerability as just another couple. Many tender moments in the couple’s lives add a layer of credibility to their frayed relationships. Mumbai serves as the perfect backdrop for their love story and gives a sneak peek into the gruelling demands of urban living that are often higher than other cities.
Nirmal’s calculation of the percentage of emotional torture and happiness in marriage, in the beginning, and at the end, makes the plot and characterisation as convincing as possible for the audience because life is all about loving and living and with a fair share of Emotional Atyachar. The duo agrees on all they disagreed before, including a full-time career for Sarah and acting for Anand, among many things. The name they chose for their son reflects how they lived and loved happily ever after. The end proves that the film is more than just ‘puppy’ love.