Verdict: A film that deserves your time, your sensibility and your sensitivity.
Review: Sita Sings The Blues is indeed the greatest breakup story ever told, and Nina Paley is a dreamweaver. With the simple use of 2D animation set on a storyboard borrowed from various sources that spoke about the epic Ramayana, here is a tale you just cannot get enough of. Speaking about life and love from a woman’s perspective, every woman who watches the film shall feel moved yet very inspired to do what she must, as long as it nurses and heals a broken heart. Chronicling her real-life story, the writer-director-animator, draws inferences from Sita’s tale as written in the many versions of the Ramayana. The most noteworthy point of them all is the revival of The Blues sung by Annette Hanshaw, a popular singer from 1920s America. As stated by Nina, the stories that she read in books got more meaning with the songs by Annette Hanshaw, as they truly set the essence of the film.
Segregated into three sets of characters, the Ramayana is retold as seen by Sita – wife of Ram, object of affection of Ravana and point of inspiration for many women thereafter. She loves with all her heart, devotes herself to her husband and her one true love, faces dejection, weeps for days on end, and finally emerges strong from her plight of being the woman who was frowned upon for no plausible reason and hence, decided to move on. Most of us who’ve watched the film already know the complete story of the epic tale, but what we may not have understood was the pain the woman of this tale felt. Her voice, her emotions, have given many distraught, sometimes destitute women a voice of their own. Sita gained her Goddess stature because she proved herself to be the epitome of womanhood and this film reminds us the same. The three narrators have the face of ancient kings (and queen) who are discussing this story like a group of individuals would make intelligent conversation of the topic of discussion.
Nina Paley has masterfully created each of these characters to tell the story of her own breakup which happened via email, and most certainly left her befuddled, without a clue as to why it should happen. Once you get into the skin of this 2D character, you too, may find yourself empathizing with her, and perhaps, feeling what she felt. If a heartbreak causes the person at the receiving end to walk onto a path of greatness… Then this is it. When you walk into your room, and kick off your shoes, read a book, before you curl up and sleep, remember that there is always a better tomorrow and one partner’s choice, doesn’t alter your life. Feel every bit empowered. Having said that, this tale also speaks to all the men watching it and ensuring that it tugs at their heart strings as well.
Why should you watch this film?
Hear Sita Sing The Blues to you while she narrates her story in a span of 81 minutes. This is a crowd-funded film and every frame of it deserves to be watched repeatedly, and likewise, shared with one and all. Not to mention the beauty with which Annette Hanshaw’s classics shall become timeless through this apt usage.