Sandcastle is a film that, beneath the stylized production, attempts to address an important subject pertaining to women. It is a film that is split into many parts, or chapters, like a book or a play. Each part examines the story from a different angle.
Sheila is married to a successful husband Vikram (Sharma) and spends a lot of time examining how to reconcile her role as a wife who is living in the safe cocoon of an upper-class existence but reflects on her own ambitions and individuality. Sheila has a near-constant stream-of consciousness chatter going on. And one day, Maya appears.
She could very well be a real life person or simply a figment of Sheila’s overactive imagination. While Sheila is overly-emotional and definitely lonely in her own world, Maya fashions herself to be the colourfully-dressed provider of pragmatic answers to Sheila’s many questions. Maya offers useful but boringly obvious advice about not letting people walk over you and about reinventing oneself; what is ironic is that such bits of wisdom can be applicable to anyone, regardless of gender.
The various chapters of this film aren’t in chronological order. Different aspects of Sheila’s life appear randomly. This is one of the things that disturb the flow of the film. For example, the pauses between sentences (Maya’s in particular) might be aimed at dramatic effect and work in real life, but these make the film drag. While Maya is meant as a counterpoint to Sheila, the former’s theatrics and gesticulations are quite over-the-top.
The concept of this film is sound as is Chatterjee’s performance but the others are lacking. Under the broad umbrella of Sandcastle’s overall feminist import and the examination of aspects related to the female psyche, it is a film about self-realization and identity, but one that could have been told better.
Set in contemporary India, the film is about Sheila’s (Chatterjee) journey on the path of self-discovery amidst the pressures and expectations of urban society. She is helped along her path by Maya (Jethwani).
The Times of India