Based on Anita Nair’s book of the same name, ‘Lessons In Forgetting’ revolves around a middle-aged, divorced man, J.A. Krishnamurthy, trying to discover the truth behind a fatal accident involving his estranged 19-year-old daughter, Smriti. In the process, the father encounters several inconvenient truths about his daughter.
The story of the film, a portion of which deals with the issue of female foeticide, is very relevant and poignant. Adil Hussain (we’ve seen him before in ‘Agent Vinod’, ‘English Vinglish’ and ‘Life Of Pi’) delivers a strong performance as the beleaguered father, who is trying to come to terms with his daughter’s rebellious past and tumultuous present. The rest of the cast, comprising Maya Tideman, Roshni Achreja, Raaghav Chanana among others, do a fine job. While the film has its share of flaws, it is socially relevant and offers a very different kind of treatment to the story. ‘Lessons In Forgetting’ is different (of the good kind!).
A middle-aged, divorced man, J.A Krishnamurthy (Adil Hussain) comes to know that his estranged daughter, Smriti (Maya Tideman), has been found severely injured near the beach at a small town in Tamil Nadu. The 19-year-old girl, found in a near-dead-state, is almost paralyzed and thus, bedridden and taken care of by a full-time nurse.
J.A. Krishnamurthy, who is devastated after finding about his daughter’s fatal accident and her present medical condition, wants to find out the truth. So, he starts looking for clues that will lead him to find out what actually happened to his daughter. In the meantime, he crosses paths with a middle-aged woman, Meera, who has been going through a tumultuous time herself after being abandoned by her husband, and left behind to take care of her two children and her mother and grandmother all by herself.
The film also comprises a touch of the ‘Save the Girl Child’ issue. The social issue has been excellently tailored into the plot of the movie. There’s not a single moment, when you may find the film overtly educative/preachy! ‘Lessons In Forgetting’ is about several more aspects; parent-child relationships, life after separation, abandonment, teenage angst etc.
All the characters have been well-written, with the exception of Meera. Her backstory was not necessary at all. Although the actress playing this character (Roshni) has done a great job, Meera wasn’t required in the film at all. Her side of the story has been introduced in an elaborate manner, but left untouched thereafter. A few scenes in the film do make you introspect about certain things. You may reconsider the way you behave with your parents/children after watching the film. It strikes a chord there! Other notable aspects about the film are; the absolutely terrific opening credits of the film and the excellent background score (Kumaresh Ganesh). The dialogue delivery of the actors was very good, which is a rarity for English-language films made in India! However, subtitles could have been compiled in a better manner (as there are a few portions in Tamil).
‘Lessons In Forgetting’, ultimately, is about how you strive so hard to know the truth, but once you know it; you desperately want to forget it (makes sense?). Anyway, watch the film! Take a bow, director Unni Vijayan.