Movie Review: Evening Shadows- Mona Ambegaonkar

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Evening shadows is a relatable story that we’ve all hear or possibly even experienced. It’s a coming out story. Kartik can do no wrong in the eyes of his mother and will achieve all his father’s ambitions. However, his parents aren’t aware of the secret he carries deep in his soul. 

After four years away, Kartik returns home only to realize his parents are trying to set him up with his childhood friend. However, things don’t go as planned and Kartik struggles with the need to tell his parents the truth about who he is. There is a certain familiarity about this scene. Kartik is bearing the burden we all have of craving acceptance from those closest to us.

Sridhar Rangayan, screenplay co-writer and director is a long time LGBT activist and filmmaker. As a result of what he brings on board, the film doesn’t have as many of the pitfalls that seem to hound such movies-even those that are well-intentioned. There’s no secondary plot where a gay man tries to seduce his best-friends husbands and even the queens brought their A-game with them and provide more than the usual cheap laughs when in the movie, they provide one of the deepest lines- Queens and moms love to suffer. 

The film highlights how much trauma gay men have to contend with and the double lives they sometimes have to live with such as being married with children yet looking for love on the side with men. At some points, the movie seems like it was meant as an eye opener for parents and friends of gays and lesbians as it highlights the different responses that hundreds, if not thousands of gay men have had to endure in their coming out experiences.

However, the film also strives not to be your regular gay 101 crash course. It is about traditions and how they affect small traditions. It is also about a woman who has hidden her desires and passions and instead replaced them with the need to be the perfect mother and wife. The movie highlights the need to have a good job and a secure life.

The depiction of a small, close-knit family with its old town rituals allow the viewer to understand why Kartik is having such a hard time walking away from it all. Mona Ambegaonkar delivered an impassioned performance as a mother whose unconditional love for her son must go through its hardest test. She eventually won applause for her performance. However, her performance is also empathetic and one that naturally tugs at the viewers heath. 

Kartik wears an almost permanent furrow on his brow throughout the movie as he deals with his mental anguish and torture. His father, played by Ananth Mahadevan gives one of the stellar performances of the show as he is shown confronting his son in the most electrically charged manner and full of tension. However, unlike other movies with similar story lines, he isn’t portrayed as a bully patriarch. 

When you don’t know how to come out, Evening Shadows is most likely the movie you can lean on to show mum. It leans heavily on the almost-unshakeable bond between mother and son. The film is a must-watch.

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