In the Twilight of lives
TLR Rating: 6 1/2 Reels.
Sameness is easy, its difference that brings forth the challenge. Love is a heavy word and very hard to explain. It’s more like solar system where gravity works as love when you are into it, unable to feel it but deprived of it makes you feel the urge for obsession. ‘Bela Seshe’ – a movie written and directed by the duo of Nandita Roy and Shiboprosad Mukherjee, belongs to the same genre. The movie is about the relationship and how with time it erodes slowly, but it strongly highlights the dependency among the two people.
Yes, relationship needs compromise and dedication on both sides, but it’s also about the duties we have for one another. Amongst all the odds of life, one needs to stand as a pillar for another. But what happens if one is absent?? Indeed, it is difficult. When relationship becomes mundane or necessary as air, one forgets to stand alone and this very thought made Biswanath Majumdar (Soumitra Chatterjee) the patriarch of the family to think about his wife. The realization dawns on him when he finds an unstable lady trying to gather all the insurance and money what her husband has left for her but struggling to do so all alone. He questions himself – is that love or the habit of staying together makes a person such weak that one cannot stay alone? To avoid such situations in his wife Arati’s life (Swatilekha Sengupta), he takes a harsh decision, while others are unaware of turmoil he is facing.
Arati is a well-organized housewife; she is least bothered with the external affairs but manages her home one handedly. She is a soft hearted person, a typical Bengali grandmother whom we can imagine. She has a so-called “Happy Family”; one son (Shankar Chakraborty as Barin) and three daughters (Aparajita Auddy as Kaberi/Buri, Rituparna Sengupta as Mili and Monami Ghosh as Piu) all well-settled financially but none in life (which we understand as the story progresses) The whole family gathers to celebrate the Durga Puja, and after the festival, Biswanath declares the he wants to separate from his wife after 49 years of marriage and the rest of the movies follows re-discovering the niceties of an old couple and their married life along with their children. The whole family drives tizzy following reaction ranging from hysteria, disbelief to laughs, and suspicion.
Even on the request of Barin and Kaberi, Biswanth doesn’t yield. While Mili blames her father for such actions, Kaberi starts finding spiritual solutions to the problem. Among all this chaos, Aarti is the calmest person (maybe that’s called trust) as she imagines her husband playing a trick to keep the family together till Laxmi Puja, but post that, when she learns the truth, she too agrees for the separation, showing her respect for her husband’s decision. This shows the courage of a woman – a person who is completely indifferent to the outer world – a person for whom her home was her world few days back – ready to accept the situation. May be God has given some unknown hidden power to women which when needed becomes her steel-like strength.
Biswanath pointed out in the court that he wants separation as he feels they have “No Fault in Marriage, which is a Fault”. But on this note, the court gives the verdict to spend two months’ time together and if they can’t sort the differences, they can go for divorce on mutual consent. As the whole family goes to Shantiniketan and all the couples spend time together, they realize their flaws. Mili leaves back her extra-marital affair and gives values to her husband (Sujoy Prasad Chatterjee). Both Piu and her husband feel that love is not only about love making, it’s something more than just physical satisfaction. The family spends the vacation and leaves for Kolkata, but Biswanath stays back with his servant, with intention to make his wife independent, but in turn he himself realizes that he too is much dependent on his wife and cannot survive without her. Therein lies the essence of the film; communication is the sole important thing. Love is present but we need to discover it. In the hour of need one can become independent but it is hard to neglect the driver i.e. love in our life.
The film deals with the delicate issue about relationships and how people should work on their marriage instead of taking it for granted. Silver Separation is a quite rare subject in film circles and no films in Indian cinema had touched it. The director duo had their work cut out by the immaculate individual pperformances by the cast. Kharaj’s performance was awesome, he added much flair and gusto. His one-line punches made the film worth watching. No doubt Soumitra and Swatilekha duo was a masterstroke, the directors brought back the pair from ‘Ghore Baire’ which was an iconic movie by Satyajit Ray. The audience were pulled to the theater to watch their performance, and both were excellent. Some of the obvious flaws in the movie were the myriad hues and shades of love, which could have been explored more than being predictable and even it brought in some impractical scenes. However, the cinematography and music added a lot to the movie. A scene where Barin takes his wife on a bridge of River Khoai was breathtaking and even when Bijon plays Tagore’s “Tumi Robe Nirobe” on sarangi, the moment is haunting and surreal. The movie is simple and straightforward, if you overlook some minor flaws, it is a watch for all generations and teaches everyone a lesson to handle relationship with care. Love was, is and will be evergreen amidst all the odds of life.
The author is a software engineer at Infosys and spends her spare time in watching movies and reading novels. She loves to analyze the literature behind the movies.