What Is the Story About?
Disney Plus Hotstar’s latest original movie ‘Rabia And Olivia’ centres on Rabia (Nayab Khan), an Indian living illegally in Canada, who’s looking for a job to tide over the financial crisis in her family. She lands a well-paying job as nanny to Olivia (Helena Prinzen-Klages), a young girl with behavioural issues. Rabia’s doting love and care begins to make a difference in Olivia’s behaviour, until Rabia is arrested on child negligence charges.
‘Rabia And Olivia’ is written and directed by Shadab Khan, and produced by Yousef Sheikh.
Nayab Khan plays Rabia with dedicated earnestness, and suits the role well. Helena Prinzen-Klages is good in parts as Olivia. Director Shadab Khan as Rabia’s friend Ishan lends commendable support. Feroz Khan is effective as Nasir Bhai. Sheeba Chadha lights up the screen in her short but impactful role of Rabia’s mother.
At its core, ‘Rabia And Olivia’ is a predictable drama, with its heart in the right place. Through its poignant story, the film explores diverse themes, the most important being that of mental health, and how patients afflicted with mental health conditions receive little to no understanding or support from people at large.
Little Olivia suffers from night terrors and behavioral issues after her mother’s death, and is put on a regimen of heavy medications to keep her issues in check. In reality, the only therapy she needs is unconditional love, caring and understanding, which she gets in abundance from Rabia. Rabia makes the foolhardy decision to stop Olivia’s medications of her own accord, which lands her in jail on child negligence charges.
It is at this point that the theme of the narrative shifts from Olivia’s mental health situation, to the blatant discrimination faced by immigrants in the west. “You people from backward countries” gets thrown in Rabia’s face often enough, to belittle and undermine her. ‘Rabia And Olivia’ also shows how the small but helpful Indian diaspora in Canada takes up cudgels on Rabia’s behalf.
‘Rabia And Olivia’ is a touching story, no doubt; but not a very well-made one. For one, it struggles with pacing issues – the narrative is slow and lethargic to the point of tedious. Secondly, the colour grading and camerawork leaves a lot to be desired. Most frames look dull, insipid and leached of all colour – in short, listless.
At no point in the narrative does the storytelling make any kind of lasting impact on the viewer. There have been several movies in the past that have explored similar themes, with terrific effect. The 1972 movie Parichay, Sound Of Music, and Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic come to mind instantly. ‘Rabia And Olivia’ is not in the same league by a long measure.
To sum it up, ‘Rabia And Olivia‘ is a commendable effort from the maker of B.A. Pass, but heartwarming isn’t enough to make a film memorable, impactful or watchable too.
Music and Other Departments?
George Joseph, Akhil Sachdeva and Ripul Sharma’s music is average. The background score is dull. Pankaj Kachhawa and Leonid Kogan’s cinematography is passable. The editing is just about adequate.
Its focus on mental health
Did I Enjoy It?
Will You Recommend It?
Rabia And Olivia Movie Review by Binged Bureau