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Gilky review: Spotlight is on Tarak Ponnappa and Chaitra Achar in this tale of love, desire and disability

YK’s directorial debut is a commendable effort of highlighting the world of a couple with intellectual and physical challenges.

3.5/5rating
Gilky review: Spotlight is on Tarak Ponnappa and Chaitra Achar in this tale of love, desire and disability
Chaitra Achar and Tarak Ponnappa in a still from the film

Last Updated: 06.15 PM, Feb 18, 2022

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Story: Intellectually-challenged Shakti/Gilky (Tarak Ponnappa), a food delivery agent, chances upon Nancy (Chaitra Achar), who suffers from cerebral palsy, on one of his trips. How the duo embark on a journey of discovering each other, in their own world, forms the rest of the tale.

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Review: When I first heard of Gilky from its lead actor Tarak and shortly after saw the song Aa Devare from the film, I was reminded of Prathap Pothen and Radhika Sarathkumar in the 1985 film Meendum Oru Kaathal Kathai. Directed by Pothen, this was a love story involving two intellectually-challenged characters, which, in a sense, explored the fact that disability is no hindrance to love and desire. The 2019 Tamil film Peranbu, also highlighted the natural tendency of humans, even those with cerebral palsy, to explore their sexuality. So, when I watched Gilky, that was the only thought that came to mind – filmmaker YK has made a brave attempt to say that differently-abled people are no different from you or me as far as basic human needs go.

Tarak Ponnappa in a still from the film
Tarak Ponnappa in a still from the film

YK chooses to present his story from the perspective of not two, but three people – Gilky (Tarak), Nancy (Chaitra) and Shakespeare (Goutham Raj). He should have just left it at two; Shakespeare is no value add in this tale. The stars of Gilky are, no doubt, Tarak and Chaitra, the former bringing the child-like qualities of his character splendidly to the fore, while she gets the physical attributes of someone with cerebral palsy just right. For the most part, Chaitra’s Nancy has such marked facial and body twitches and ticks that even eating is a task. She is not shown as someone capable of communication, until, of course, she has to have a conversation with Gilky. But that can be overlooked. There are a few scenes that may be highly debatable and could have been dealt with better - one involving an attempted molestation, and another with Shakespeare and his daughter.

In an industry in which the order of the day is to make run-of-the-mill commercial cinema, and content-driven films remain a niche market, it takes guts to not only choose the path less taken, but also do it with characters who are far from normal (for the rest of the world) and allow them to break free from the repression of society. For a debutant, YK’s effort is, undoubtedly, commendable, but the film could have benefitted from a wee bit of finesse.

Verdict: Content-driven cinema rarely have the luxury of many movie screens and their shelf-life depends on the first weekend performance. Gilky’s got an A certificate, so, it’s not for family viewing, but should you choose to head out to the movie halls this weekend, do give this one a try.

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