Avinash Arun Dhaware’s Three of Us: A Poignant Exploration of Memory and Identity

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In the film Three of Us, directed by Avinash Arun Dhaware, we are taken on a deeply moving journey of self-discovery and reflection. The movie revolves around Shailaja Patankar (played by Shefali Shah), a woman grappling with the impending loss of her memory due to dementia. Determined to reconcile with her past before she loses herself, Shailaja returns to her hometown in Konkan, accompanied by her husband Dipankar (Swanand Kirkire). As they wander through familiar streets, memories are reignited, and an emotional portrait of Shailaja’s past takes shape.

The Impact of Memories and Identity

Three of Us explores the profound impact of memories on our sense of identity. Shailaja’s decision to revisit her hometown stems from her desire to reconnect with the earliest memories that shaped her. She seeks closure and longs to salvage the fragments of her past. As she walks down memory lane with her former friend Pradeep Kamat (Jaideep Ahlawat), the boundaries between what was and what could have been blur, revealing both beauty and pain.

Relational Dynamics and Unconditional Support

The film delves into the complex dynamics of relationships and the unconditional support that can bind individuals together. Dipankar, portrayed by Swanand Kirkire, embodies a hesitant yet unwavering support for Shailaja, reminiscent of John Magaro’s portrayal in Goldfish. Jaideep Ahlawat delivers another brilliant performance as Pradeep Kamat, navigating the character’s understanding that his connection to Shailaja has been eroded by time. Despite his indulgences, he remains tethered to his life with his wife.

Shefali Shah’s Extraordinary Performance

Shefali Shah delivers a remarkable performance as Shailaja, brilliantly encapsulating the nuances of a woman struggling to hide her true motives while grappling with past memories and the impending loss of her identity. Shah masterfully portrays Shailaja’s desire to relive and preserve every cherished moment, evident in the subtleties of her expressions and the emotions conveyed through her eyes.

A Mix of Nostalgia and Mundanity

Director Avinash Arun Dhaware, known for his earlier work School of Lies, skillfully presents the dichotomy between childhood nostalgia and the mundanity of adulthood. The film beautifully captures the essence of Konkan, yet there is an underlying sense that the characters have outgrown their surroundings. Their complacency and evolved relationships mirror their emotional disconnection from the spaces they once called home. However, in Shailaja’s Bharatanatyam classes, she rediscovers a sense of vitality reminiscent of her amateur artist days.

The Power of Possibility

Three of Us does not seek a binary choice between nostalgia and closure; instead, it presents a story that embraces the power of possibility. Varun Grover’s dialogues effectively capture the emotional essence of the characters, although at times, the use of metaphors feels out of place. Nonetheless, the film refrains from vilifying any of the three main characters, allowing their journeys to intertwine with one another. We are reminded that the experiences of those around us shape our own identities.

Multiple Perspectives and Endless Stories

Three of Us offers multiple perspectives and narratives, enticing viewers to envision the story through various lenses. We can explore Shailaja’s past, present, and future, witnessing the tale through her eyes, Pradeep’s, or even Dipankar’s. The film’s ability to present these different angles without feeling disjointed allows for a limitless exploration of possibilities.

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