Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Melancholy...and Endless-ness

For a long time now, I have believed that I belong to the category of people who are easily vanquished by the sadness in a song, a book or a movie... rather than the happiness. Sometimes, it almost feels like the happiness imparted by a medium like that is fleeting, but the sadness is not. The sadness tugs at your sleeve, throws an invisible blanket around your heart, leaves you staring into nothingness through misty eyes...and eventually, remains in your mind with that big sigh you heave in that long breath. Its like a melancholic breeze...that lingers...that follows you.

Most of mankind has been designed to constantly adapt. How else do we deal with loss? With change? How else do we live on? That's why we learn to get comfortable...to embrace the unexpected...to find happiness in what we have, and be thankful for it. That's why we have the ability to see layers of complexity in an issue sometimes, but smile at the real simplicity of it all, some other time. And so it shall be, that the people we know, and love, will remain both our lucid waters, and our unsolvable puzzles... and this was beautifully depicted in two movies, in very different ways.

Aniruddha Roy Chowdry's Antaheen and Aparna Sen's The Japanese Wife. The only two Bengali movies I have watched till date... both telling stories of relationships...and how their complexity, or the absence of it, can depend solely on the people involved.

Antaheen, set in the backdrop of busy (or not-so-busy) lives in a city, beautifully depicts a scenario alot of people may be able to relate to today... an outward facade of acceptance, with an inherent knowledge that one is in denial...is living a farce. The Japanese wife is like an intricate painting of life in different shades of grey...each brush stroke depicting helplessness and poverty...and yet, amazing simplicity. It is mildly teasing to realise the striking similarities amidst all the differences. One movie depicts marriage as a complex web of perspectives...and misunderstandings...the answer being separation. The second movie on the other hand portrays how simple a marriage could be, if all that matters is an understanding, and all that is required is an acknowledgement. The first movie outlines the complexity of relationships through a young couple conversing through the internet, clearly in love, hesitating to reveal their identities or their feelings to each other, for the fear of losing it all... while the second movie asserts the possible simplicity of relationships by telling a story of two people who for sheer love, marry each other through letters, and remain so till the end. However, both movies tell of endless waits...for love. And how sometimes we wait a tad too long... and its all gone.

In Antaheen, the melancholy is of people... caught in the web of their thoughts. In Aparna Sen's brave, independent outside... and an inside yearning to go back to her separated husband, who now portrays himself to be cynical and bitter... In Sharmila Tagore's life of singlehood, brought about by phone conversations that suddenly stopped... In Rahul Bose's and Radhika Apte's solace in strangers...In the orange kite, stuck in the antenna... In the wait, that almost ended... but didn't. In the sad truth that life goes on... and if we wait too long, we learn to live with the losses...and the memories the breeze brings.

In the Japanese wife, the melancholy is three fold. There's poverty, helplessness, and... people. There's melancholy in the beauty of the Matla river...and in its unfortunate potential for destruction...there's melancholy in the simplicity of the marriage that binds two quiet, shy people... In a widow's attempt to conceal her beauty, her feelings, her fears... In a poor man's quest to cure the cancer eating his wife...a wife he has never laid eyes on...There's melancholy in the Japanese woman clad in a white saree, holding a white umbrella, showing the world her shaved head...her symbol of devotion to her dead husband... the one she loved, and lived to see... but as fate would have it, never saw. Melancholy... in the japanese kites flying high in the blue indian skies... In a pair of hand-knitted socks that imparted snug happiness...

Thus continues my endless liking for such movies... some melancholy...some bitter-sweet-ness... some smiles... but finally, a blank stare... an irony... a realisation that everything... is personal.

Ajo ache gopon, Pherari mon…
Beje gechhe kakhon, Se telephone…


(The wild escaping mind is still concealed...
When has that telephone ever rung?)


Ps: Please feel free to correct that Bengali translation... I got it off the net :)

Yours " Class...."ly
Signing off...

6 comments:

Dinvra igaluaC said...

hello.... Nice write up :)
I never got down to watching antaheen- I'm always put off by the beginning.But for some reason coincidentally on the same day, I have two people telling me how good the film is.So have to watch it! The Japanese wife- loved the short story, have been waiting for two years for it to release and was extremely beautiful!

Div said...

Caulagi - Thanks! Antaheen is definitely worth the watch. I'm sorry if the post had any spoilers! And yes, The Japanese wife was beautifully made. I waited for it as well! I remember watching the trailer again and again! Haven't ready the book though.

Dinvra igaluaC said...

Saw antaheen..Like it..but thought some things were over done... but the end was really saddening...
Please watch this triology of films called Three colours : blue, white, red..You'll love them as well...

Vinod R Iyer said...

"The sweetest songs are those
That tell us of saddest thought"

And those are my favorite poetic lines ! :)

Melancholy appeals to most as much as comedy does. And that is why I keep listening to my playlist by the same name too ..time and again !

Div said...

Vinod - Melancholy is indeed beautiful :)

runcible said...

happiness as an adaptation is so true...only watched japanese wife so far.it keeps up to the short story.
and as arvi said,you'l definitely love 3colors-blue.and i suggest 'the hours'...