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That Girl in Yellow Boots – movie review

A British woman comes to search for her father in India


That Girl in Yellow Boots - movie review

The film That Girl in Yellow Boots was first screened at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2010, followed by Venice Film Festival after it played in several festivals worldwide including South Asian International Film Festival.

That Girl in Yellow Boots is a thriller tracing Ruth’s (Kalki Koechlin), a British woman who comes to search for her father – who abandoned her family in England while she was very young. All she knew was his name and doesn’t even know how he looks.

A British citizen Ruth has to patiently wait for her turn at the foreigners’ registration office in Mumbai. The girl wants an extension of her tourist visa but what she comes across is greed and corruption.

To stay afloat, Ruth (Kalki Koechlin) makes a living in Bombay by giving hand jobs to wrinkled, old customers who come to the shady massage parlour. She attends to various characters including the lusty old men and even the young ones who are just curious about the ‘massage thing’.

Without a work permit, desperation drives her to work at a massage parlour. Torn between several schisms, Mumbai becomes the alien but yet strangely familiar backdrop for Ruth’s quest.

It is run by Maya (Puja Sarup), a talkative and carefree woman. She is good at her job and even gets many repeat customers, one of whom is an old man (Naseeruddin Shah). Ruth has a drug-addicted boyfriend, Prashant (Prashant Prakash), who gets into trouble all the time. He demands sex from Ruth but she refuses. She regularly pays bribes to the Indian officials to renew her tourist visa, which doesn’t allow her to work in India.

Director Anurag Kashyap and co-writer Kalki Koechlin descriptively illustrate this web of exploitative red-tape in the system in this city where people do not have time and feelings for others in the film That Girl in Yellow Boots.

She struggles to find her independence and space even as she is sucked deeper into the labyrinthine politics of the city’s underbelly. She starts dating a drug addict Prashant (Prashant Prakash).

A city that feeds on her misery, a love that eludes her and above all, a devastating truth that she must encounter. And everyone wants a piece of her.

There is a general feeling that Mumbai is the land of dreams, where everything is pleasant. Not for this girl for whom it remains a fairy tale.

Kalki Koechlin the protagonist in That Girl in Yellow Boots is a girl caught in a ruthless world. Puja Swarup is impressive as the effusive massage parlour receptionist who is constantly on her mobile phone. Gulshan Devaiah is talented, but Kalki is in the center stage.

That Girl in Yellow Boots is a different film which has a disturbing finale and is meant for die-hard fans of Anurag Kashyap.

Cast of That Girl in Yellow Boots:
Kalki Koechlin as Ruth
Naseeruddin Shah as Divakar
Divya Jagdal as Divya
Kumud Mishra as Lynn
Prashant Prakash as Prashant
Gulshan Devaiya as Chittiappa
Pooja Swaroop as Maya
Kartik Krishnan
Mushtaq Khan
Shiv Kumar Subramaniam
Ronit Roy
Makrand Deshpande
Piyush Mishra
Rajat Kapoor
That Girl in Yellow Boots – movie review