Tumi robe nirobe, hridaye mamo… If I was asked to summarise my review of Belaseshe, these lines by Tagore would be it. Used as a background score throughout the film, the haunting melody of the sarod still rings true in the ears. Shiboprosad and Nandita deliver another gem to the viewers – this time with a family drama.
What keeps a marriage going? Is it the bond of love or just the habit of togetherness? How important is physical relationship in a marriage to make it long-lasting? In this age of social-networking, are we forgetting the basic network of a domestic life? The director duo handle the issues with elan in this two and half hour film.
Bishwanath Majumder, the owner of famous “Majumder & Sons” (I liked the trick with Chatterjee & Sons), is married to Arati for 49 years when their life takes a surprise turn! Bishwanath wants legal separation from his wife Arati – who has been a housewife all her life – to make her self-dependent. He makes his children party to this decision on Bijoya Dashami.
When this case comes up before the court, the judge (Barun Chanda looked more of a marriage counselor than a judge) refuses to believe there has been an irreparable breakdown of marriage. Instead he asks Bishwanath and Arati to spend 15 days on a vacation, alone.
What follows is a journey of realisation, self-discovery, pent-up emotions finding an outlet… Love gets a new meaning, relationships are redefined and family ties are shaken.
Needless to say, Soumitra and Swatilekha enjoy a beautiful chemistry which translates on the screen. Every actor justified their role, every sub-plot was handled maturely. The sequence where the entire family plays the “I Wish” game, and Arati’s response, will surely bring tears of joy to your eyes.
The beauty of Belaseshe lies in the small moments of togetherness and joy, just like a domestic life. The Durga Puja sequence or the scene at the Kenduli Mela are sheer bliss. We live in a world of nuclear families; films like Belaseshe which has a joint family as protagonist reinforce our belief in the value system.
Hope to see many more films like Belaseshe from Shiboprosad and Nandita.
My Rating: 4/5 stars
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When it comes to portrayal of contemporary Bengali society and adapting novels on screen, there is hardly any match for Shiboprosad Mukherjee and Nandita Roy. From the intricacies of a mother’s possessiveness over her son in Ichhe to the flight of dreams of prisoners in Muktodhara, they have translated intricate travails of human nature so effortlessly that their films remain etched in your memories for a long time.
Ramdhanu is an adaptation of a novel by Suchitra Bhattacharya. It tells us the story of a mother who, like any other parent, is concerned about getting her son admitted into a “good school”. It narrates the tale of complex emotions parents go through while trying to get their child admitted into the best school possible. It is the inherent simplicity of the narration that makes the tale so endearing. The mother’s fear of failure and the dilemma of the father torn between his own lack of self-confidence and the humongous task to passing an interview to ensure the best of education for his son reflect a life that we all have experienced at some point in our life.
In a short sequence of the film, the directors give us an important message of loving our mother language as much as foreign ones. Our love for English (or any other tongue) should not lead us to looking down upon our own. The juxtaposition of Mitali, trying to learn English rhymes from her German sister-in-law, and Jennifer in turn asking Gogol to teach her Chhoras, is poignant.
Ramdhanu is a milestone for Gargi Roy Chowdhury. This film belongs to her. She nails it as the mother – with all complexities portrayed in perfect tandem with the demands of the script. Shiboprosad in his own charming and melodramatic manner comes as a pillar of support. Rachana Banerjee in her special appearance reminds the audience she was once a reigning queen in Tollywood.
There are several moments in the film that will remind you of your own childhood. The chemistry of the mother and son will really make you weak in the knees several times throughout the film. During the climax, when the little Gogol answers questions during his school interview, you can hardly fight the tears welling up in your eyes.
Above all, there is young Gogol, busy chasing kites and rainbows and enjoying his short trip to his mother’s village, his grandmother’s horror tales, grandfather’s fishing tips and his ‘phirangi’ mami’s nursery rhyme sessions. His innocence is, perhaps, one of the high points of the film.
Ramdhanu is a family drama with a touch of innocence and simplicity that will make you want to watch it again.
My rating: 4/5 stars
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