Rabia and Olivia, produced by Indo-Canadian filmmaker Yousuf Sheikh and directed by Shadab Khan(of BA Pass 2 fame), focusses on the main issues of urban and western life around the world. It tackles the illegal immigration issue on the surface but at the core, it is a story of compassion and humanity.
It focuses on mental health problems and shows us pragmatic and positive solutions to deal with them, by bringing in the two titular protagonists at the difficult junctures of life. Rabia is an illegal immigrant in Canada who doesn’t want to return to India as she feels that the opportunities in Canada are humungous and thereby seeks refugee status. And Olivia is a little girl who is dealing with a mental trauma after losing her mother at a very young and tender age. As destiny would have it, their paths cross when Rabia is employed as the caretaker of Olivia leading to a strong bonding between the two.
Just like a lot of youths migrate with a perceived glamour of western countries for better living and later realize the fact of being thrashed with an endless number of difficulties in getting legal stamps, Rabia and Olivia portray the intrinsic realities but the heart is missing. Shadab’s overly ambitious endeavors of handling multiple things at one time – better parenting, fusion of eastern and western culture, women empowerment and overpour of empathy and compassion lands the film in a diluted zone. Shot abroad, the 85-minute film has good visuals(cinematography is by Lenod Kogan and Pankaj Kachua) and intermittently tries to touch your soul with its limited talent on board. Apart from Sheeba Chadha, none of the actors, including the leads – Nayab Khan and Henlena Prinzen Klague , register an impact
Love is the greatest therapy. It is more powerful than Medicines. The makers try to sledgehammer this point throughout the film, but the emotional wallop could have been more in proportion. I go with 3 stars. Rabia and Olivia is produced under the banner of Synchron Entertainment and streams on Disney+Hotstar from 24th Feb 2023.
Ahwaan Padhee, is an IT Techie/Business Consultant by profession and a film critic/cinephile by passion, is also associated with Radio Playback as well, loves writing and conducting movie quizzes.
More By Ahwaan Padhee