Netflix Cobalt Blue is not perfect. But his queer heart beats the shortcomings

Νof etflix Cobalt blue will stain your memory long after the end of the movie. It is striking, especially in the history of LGBTQ + community representation in Indian cinema. The latest commercial film to address the issue of queerness, Badhaai Do, has left a lot of room. It’s not that Cobalt blue it is flawless, but it has a beating heart that makes up for many of its shortcomings.

A quick search will show that the story is about a brother and sister, played by Neelay Mehendale and Anjali Sivaraman, in a “traditional Marathon family”, who fall in love with the anonymous character played by Prateik Babbar. But this is not even the tip of the iceberg.

The film is directed by National Award-winning Sachin Kundalkar and is based on his own groundbreaking novel of the same name he wrote when he was 22 years old. The original Marathi was later translated into English by the elusive Jerry Pinto. Directing a film based on his own book, and also an extremely sensitive and painful depiction of love and sexual arousal, Cobalt blue is similar to Stephen Chbosky The benefits of being a Wallflower (2012).

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Men in cobalt blue

Prateik Babbar, in the best interpretation of his career, impersonates the enigmatic guest he pays, whom both Tanay (Mehendale) and Anuja (Sivaraman) fall in love with. It brings blue and rainbows to the brothers’ lives.

Tanay is an aspiring writer, longing for a room of his own and talking to his turtle, Pablo. Prateik’s character, meanwhile, can only be seen through Tanay’s eye. In the beginning, he describes himself as someone who makes light bulbs and sells them. He is an artist, using different media and colors, as he interacts with the two brothers.

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The love scenes between the two men Cobalt blue are sensual, painful and treated with extreme tenderness. From the moment Tanay bends down to inhale the scent of Prateik until the moment they finally kiss and have sex, every frame stays with you.

The scenes of Tanay and his lone teacher – skillfully impersonated by Neil Bhoopalan – sharing their trauma with each other are overwhelming because the story, set in 1996 by Kochi, is far removed from today’s world. In his sphere Cobalt blue, to love a person of the same sex was still a crime. There were no dating apps or other ways to find love without being brutally punished for it.

Tanay’s character attracts you with the multitude of his feelings and desires, striving to free himself in a world polarized by communism, on the one hand and his father’s iron fist on the other. His scenes of flirting with Bhoopalan’s character serve as a harbinger of what will follow after Prateik’s introduction to history.

The extremes of patriarchy and violence are evident in Tanay’s father and dead grandfather, who use their privilege to brutally secure the status quo, especially for women.

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Cobalt Blue Women

In the novel, the chapters are divided into “His” and “Hers” – giving voice to the individual experiences of Tanay and Anuja’s sexual interactions with Prateik’s character. In both cases, however, you do not hear enough about what Anuja had to say, which is a major drawback of the film.

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But what stands out in Cobalt blue is the solidarity between the three main female characters in the film — a Muslim, a Hindu, and a Christian — all submissive in some way, and yet they never fail, even once, to stand up and help others make their dreams come true. .

There is a beautiful moment when Anuja is having a period and her friend Fathima leads her house with a bullet while Mary sits behind her to hide the stain. It is also Mary who is determined to save and help Anuja achieve her dream of becoming a hockey player when things go wrong at Tanay-Anuja’s house.

The setting of the film is perfect – the swamps of Kerala, the spices and even the sea. The color palette is amazing and completes the first rinse of the sexual awakening of the brother-brother duet. In this sense, perhaps very aptly, blue is indeed the warmest color.

The Cobalt blue he never makes any hero, but it depends mainly on what love and loss mean and, as Anuja says, “love makes you braver”.

(Edited by Srinjoy Dey)

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