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CODA Is Fabulous, But Our Khamoshi Is Preferable




Coda(Apple TV+)

Sian Heder
Victoria Bedos,Sian Heder,Stanislas Carré de Malberg
Emilia Jones,Marlee Matlin,Troy Kotsur

As a CODA (Child of Deaf Adults), Ruby is the only hearing person in her deaf family. When the family’s fishing business is threatened, Ruby finds herself torn between pursuing her love of music and her fear of abandoning her parents.

Rating: *** ½

CODA Review: Straightaway, this is  a  not-be-missed  heartwarmer, so  rich in   authentic emotions it  feels and smells  like freshly plucked apples   from the tree of life. Coda is  the  story of  a deaf family,and their  daughter  who is  not   aurally  impaired and who  wants  to pursue a career  in  music.

Sounds familiar?  That’s  right. Sanjay Leela  Bhansali got there 25 years  ago in Khamoshi The Musical. Remember   the glorious Manisha Koirala  as Annie trying to live up to her deaf parents’ Nana Patekar and Seema  Biswas’ expectations ? Remember  her singing Yeh dil sun raha  hai while her parents stare mutely  wondering how well their daughter sings.

Coda is  no  less an emotional experience.Emilia Jones as  the  physically normal daughter of her  family of  deaf parents  and brother(the brother  died  young in Khamoshi) is devastatingly enchanting.  As Ruby, Emilia Jones nails  the  suppressed desires of a daughter  riddled with guilt for being physically normal.

 In  fact there is  a heartbreaking sequence in Coda(acronym for ‘childrens of deaf adults’) where  Ruby’s mother Jackie(the lovely Marlee Matlin who  aeons ago  made a grand  impact as  deaf-mute in The Children Of Lesser God)  confesses  to Ruby that she had actually  hoped Ruby would be deaf  like the rest  of the family when she was born.

Amazingly this emotionally-shattering confessional  sequence between mother and daughter  ends with a giggle rather a sob. There is  no  room for selfpity or wound-licking in this brave and beautiful story with rousing  edifying  performances by all.

Of course, Emilia Jones is a revelation. But is  she as  good as Manisha  Koirala in Khamoshi?  Wait, am I  being biased  here? No two ways about Marlee Matlin and  Troy Kotsur being superior  to Nana Patekar and Seema  Biswas in the earlier  classic.And with reason: Matlin and Kotsur are deaf in real  life. This opens  up a debate on whether only the  physically impaired should  play such roles.

Not that I am complaining. Coda  leaves no room for quibble. From the way  the director    officiates  unobtrusively over the  domestic  squabbles to the  scenes in  the  school choir where a passionate  music teacher(Euginio Derbez) prods Ruby into a  career in  music, everything is  pitch-perfect here.

 By the  time Emilia  Jones’ Ruby is on stage singing  Joni Mitchell’s  Both Sides Now in that angelic voice, her fate  is sealed. So is  the  film’s.

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