Set in the backdrop of a town in Karnataka, Evening Shadows is a simple portrayal of a bond between a mother and her son. The drama adds when the son, Kartik faces a situation where he has to come out of the closet to his family. The story is simple and relatable to some. But it’s impact on viewers is largely trivial.
Coming out in a traditional Hindu family.
Kartik is born and brought up in a traditional, orthodox Hindu family. He grew up with a strict father whose idea of settling down is to have a government job and get married.
But Kartik is dearest to his mother, Vasudha. The two have a relationship that is heartwarming and very loving. And it sustains through the movie.
The film opens with Kartik coming home from Mumbai after 4 years. Having been a professional photographer in the city he still fails to get his father’s approval. As the movie progresses, Kartik tries hard to keep his secret. All the while knowing how his family would react to hear about his sexuality. But circumstances lead him to eventually expose his secret. On a mother-son road trip, Kartik decides it is the right time to tell his mother about his relationship. It is obvious how unexpected and shocking it is to hear about her son’s situation. What happens after is something to look forward to.
Characters steal the show.
Vasudha played by Mona Ambegoankar is the highlight of the film. She plays the role of a mother with such ease. She is just like a typical mother- cute and motherly. And emotional when she has to be. Her fondness towards her son hits the gong when Kartik reveals himself. Vasudha’s role brings reality and rawness to the story.
Kartik is a sweet innocent mother’s boy. At the same time, he is mature enough to explain to his family how he is not wrong when it comes to being gay. Devansh Doshi plays the role of Kartik with the utmost simplicity. He is not too overtly gay but his love for his partner is evidently portrayed. His love for his mother and vice-versa is the only thing that keeps you hooked to the screen.
Ananth Narayan Mahadevan plays the role of Kartik’s father. He is probably the right choice for a stern father that keeps his family secure with his cultures and traditions. The rest of the characters in the film support the main cast. But they do not really contribute much to the film.
Evening shadows struggles to hold attention.
Director Sridhar Rangayan wrote the screenplay with Saagar Gupta who is a filmmaker and an LGBTQ activist. The screenplay is simple. The dialogues are plain and overtly complicated. The drama is not over the top like other Hindi movies. The entire film plays at a soft pace, not rushing or slowing down at any point.
The story plays out one after the other. It is not too hard to keep up. And it doesn’t have too many surprises. Kartik’s relationship with his partner seems a bit too happily ever after kinds. But then again, the director is subtle in not having to add too much drama. He tries to focus more on Vasudha accepting his sons’ sexuality that Kartik’s relationship itself.
Mother-son duo brings the film home.
The most interesting and eye-catching part of the movie is the relations the mother and son have. The time when the two take a short road trip shows the true bond between them. A few flashbacks to Kartik’s childhood add a flow to the film. It is easy for Kartik to be open with his mother. Therefore it became a bit easier for him to tell her the truth.
As a mother who has been living in a small conservative family. It is harder for her to accept the truth. She finds it hard to see his sons change and at points blames it on herself. She feels that she raised him wrong. As time passes, Kartik tries to explain to her how being gay is a choice he had from childhood. And that it is not wrong to have such feelings for a man.
The climax is the most heartfelt scene in the entire movie. Vasudha comes to terms with her son’s sexuality. She raised him all on his own and has no regrets of how he turns out. She is a proud mother that shows that her love for her son will never change no matter what he is. Her performance makes you tear up a little.
A happy ending was not a surprise. Some scenes keep you wanting more while others just lack a bit of intensity. Overall, the film is soft and soothing but fails to leave a lasting impression.