Saturday, 8 January 2011


According to Samsad Bangla - English dictionary, abohomaan means "existing or continuing since the beginning". All of Rituporno Ghosh's films (may be with the exception of "Shubho Maharat") are about human relationships, hence he always deals with this eternally relevant issue. So I am not sure why he chose to call this particular one eternal. Whatever the reasons may be, this is a movie of high quality. Let us first mention the technical aspects. Often there are scenes of large depth of field, where you see something in the background, happening may be in another room. The primary action takes place in foreground while perhaps through a window, one sees a distant room. These are very well planned to give the viewer a deep feeling of the ambience. Then there are close-ups. One almost feels like being in a theatre watching a play live when these close-ups are shown. So far so good. The one thing that I did not like is the trick of going back and forth in time too frequently. This is a trick resorted to by some directors when the content in the film is not enough to captivate the audience. This film has enough content, drama, relationship issues, intensity of emotions to please the audience. It could do without such cheap tricks. A plain straightforward narration a la Ray or Truffaut is truly pleasurable.

Aniket, a world renowned film maker, falls for an actress of his son's age. Aniket has a well established family comprising of his wife, a son and his aged mother. Aniket's wife herself was an actress who chose the home over work. Her contribution to Aniket and his film-making is tremendous. Ideal picture of a happy family. In comes Shikha, a budding actress - the exact antinthesis of Deepti, Aniket's wife. Shikha is uninhibited, raw, unsophisticated, truly a flame. You might wonder what made an well extablished Bengali "bhadralok" fall for this young woman. The answer lies in the comfort factor that Aniket had with Deepti. Aniket and Deepti were really inseparable - not just to the outside world, but in their own minds. Aniket's comfort level was so high that he drifted without thinking, without wondering for a moment, without the slightest fear or discomfort. His subconcious mind imagined that Deepti will expand to include this activity of his as she has done with everything else in his life. Deepti has always been there and will be there. Deepti of course was shattered. Her world crumbled on herself. She maintained a dignified profile - she had made many sacrifices for her husband, she did that one more time. She did it so that her aged mother-in-law does not come to know, her husband's worldwide reputation does not take a hit, her son does not suffer. Classical Indian wife, strong to the core, wise enough to know that life itself is bigger than an Aniket falling for a Shikha. Brilliantly portrayed by Mamata Shankar. I suppose, in real life situations, many a woman (and many a man) has done this role playing of an ideal wife or husband knowing that her husband (or his wife) chooses to share intimacy with someone else. Many do not do this sacrifice. Either way it is not easy when such a situation is thrust on anyone.

The film does not stop there. It evolves to portray how Aniket's son grows to take it in his stride. He thinks of making a film on this. A non-judgemental one. He shares a lot of frankness with his father. One such incident happens when Aniket tell his son Apratim that Apratim is not the only son to be cheated by his father. Apratim immediately enquires whether Aniket is trying to justify himself. In reply, Aniket says no, he was only trying to give Apratim tips about how he would be able to sell the idea of his film to a producer.

Brilliant performances by many, but Ananya Chatterjee truly tops them all. She had to play the role of a rustic, uneducated character. Not easy, especially beside Mamata Shankar who is grace personified.