Rakhee Sandilya’s “Ribbon” gives us a peek into the life of a young urban couple as they navigate professional and personal hurdles. Yuppie couple Sahana (Kalki Koechlin) and Karan (Sumeet Vyas) live a seemingly perfect life in Mumbai. They party hard and work harder, until she gets pregnant and realises they aren’t ready for parenthood.
This first romantic movie cliché is introduced within the first 15 minutes, and from then on, the tired tropes don’t stop. The crying baby, the search for a perfect nanny, the sleepless nights – Sandilya makes sure we see them all. Sahana is apparently a star employee at her workplace, but is treated like a daily-wage labourer. She is not granted paid maternity leave, and when she comes back to work after having her baby, her position has been given to someone else. We see her balancing client presentations and breast pumping schedules, even as Karan plays the role of the supportive spouse. And when she dares ask for three days of leaves to take care of her daughter, Aashi (Kierra Soni), she is fired from her job.
Because a working mother seems to be an anomaly in Sandilya’s world, no one is willing to give a top performer like Sahana a job, and Karan is forced to take up a project in a neighbouring city to support the family. But the real test of their relationship comes when they are forced to deal with an incident involving their daughter. In the absence of the proverbial village, Sahana and Karan find that raising a child alone in a city throws up more challenges than they had anticipated.
Given that these are problems most urban couples face, the subject matter could veer towards being either relatable or banal. In the case of “Ribbon”, it is the latter. Sandilya’s style is prosaic and the narrative staccato. We trudge from one mini-crisis to another, but there is never quite an insight into the life of modern-day couples or the pressures of parenting in urban India. The vantage point that the audience has been given is only interesting for a while, even though Koechlin and Vyas seem capable enough for their roles. Sandilya’s attempt at giving us a glimpse into the unseen pressures of urban life is commendable, but the story has neither meat nor heft to keep the audience interested.