Language: Marathi, Hindi
"Everyone gather around! C'mon smile, say cheese, I need to take a photo!"
These very words make my blood run cold every time and springs my brain into action, looking for an excuse to avoid the situation. Hence, when Maee (Neena Kulkarni), in Photo-Prem, expresses hesitation on being photographed, I could only nod my head in silence, and scream inwards, "I get it, girl!"
But Maee is no Gen-Z like me. She belongs to the sepia-tinted, classics film camera era. While I pretty much got used to the world of aesthetically clicked candids and selfies, Maee still struggles. She gets anxious, makes a fuss every time someone furnishes a camera to snap, and even shuns from her own daughter's wedding to escape the photographer's eye.
However, things go for a toss when Maee attends a friend's funeral ceremony. Bewildered to find a childhood picture hung on the wall for remembrance, she begins introspecting. Maee is fearful of her own future: what if she too is remembered like this after she passes away? How will her future generations identify her? What if everyone forgets about her existence? And most importantly, what legacy will she leave behind? And so her search to click that perfect snap begins. But, only if it was that easy for photophobic Maee.
She rummages through her old photo albums and revisits the past to find that one perfect photo. In her harmless exploration, she visits random funeral ceremonies, reads up obituaries, and even pays a visit to the local photo studio to understand the process of being clicked. Undertaking help from her house help and a young neighbourhood kid, Maee enlists the help of webcam technology. She attempts several poses, with props, with make-up, even the famous wide-open arms Shah Rukh Khan pose. Maee leaves no stone unturned.
Photo-Prem is a funny, quintessential take on what we leave behind for memories or legacy, but is unfortunately quick to lose potential with half-baked writing and even a slower pace.
Photo-Prem is streaming on Amazon Prime Video India.