Run Kalyani at New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF): J Geetha’s Malayalam drama transforms the unremarkable life of a cook into everyday poetry

Posted on July 28, 2020


The music is like a bolero, where a theme is endlessly repeated. The tiny variations in each repetition mirror the tiny variations in each day Kalyani wakes up to face.

Spoilers ahead…

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In the morning, before leaving for work, Kalyani (Garggi Ananthan) tends to her aged, bedridden aunt. This isn’t a “chore”. There’s deep love, on both sides. It’s evident from the way they look at each other. But other things hang in the air, unstated. For instance, there’s a box below the bed that contains the bells a dancer straps to her ankles. The aunt was probably that dancer, which must make it twice as hard for her to deal with her immobility. But this is something some of us may feel: that’s all. There’s no line that fills in this bit of character background. Or take the instance of the security guard who’s seen apologising profusely over the phone. What happened? We aren’t told, we aren’t shown. But the next day, we see a new guard has taken his place. That’s the delicate sensibility at work in Run Kalyani.

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