The title of Arun Fulara’s 16-minute short is self-explanatory, but it also reveals the inherent gaze that adult agency is subjected to. The perspective (“My Mother’s Girlfriend”) is that of a person referring to a parent.
It’s the lens through which society views – and stigmatises – the concept of middle-aged desire. The implication is that the words “Mother” and “Girlfriend” are usually separated by a conjunction; they aren’t supposed to be connected like this.
That gaze here belongs to a Mumbai taxi driver named Mangesh. From his point of view, this is a story about a grown man confronting his single mother after discovering that she is in a romantic relationship with another woman.
Deshpande’s Renuka plans to spend her birthday with her girlfriend – eating, walking, wandering, frolicking on the beach. Most of this date unfolds in public spaces, which suggests how unassuming the sight of two smiling women can be.
But the film remains steady. The couple is aware of the prejudices that surround them. And they use it to their advantage, exploiting the culture that Invisibilizes them in everyday life.