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Bengali movie Belaseshe is heart-warming examination of Indian marriages and all that can go wrong when a couple takes the relationship for granted.
This is a movie that leaves you with not only a long-lasting impact but a rare realization about marriage, relationships and life as a whole. Belaseshe, directed by the talented duo Shibaprasad Mukherjee and Nandita Roy is indeed, one of its kind. As characteristic of the late Suchitra Bhattacharjee’s stories, this one too presents a situation that is so very identifiable, questions relevant issues that plague more or less every marriage in modern society and then provides the answers in a way that the readers/viewers are left baffled and satisfied at the same time.
To begin with, I must confess that the movie Belaseshe has portrayed a upper-middle class Bengali family in a manner so vivid that few directors could have succeeded in it. The storyline is simple. Biswanath Majumder and Arati Majumder are a septuagenarian couple with three daughters, sons-in-law, a son, daughter-in-law and grandsons and granddaughters. Following a family get-together just after the Durga Puja, Biswanath Majumder expresses his wish to get divorced from his wife after 49 years of marriage, leaving the entire family shocked to the core.
Following a family get-together just after the Durga Puja, Biswanath Majumder expresses his wish to get divorced from his wife after 49 years of marriage, leaving the entire family shocked to the core.
He explains the reasons behind his decision in front of the judge at the court. He believes that the marriage is a lifeless one, which has become more of a habit and hence, a burden for him. Arati, on the other hand, confesses that she loves her husband and is willing to take any step to make him happy. The judge advises the couple to go for a trip and consider their decision over a span of 15 days.
The family, all together, goes for a vacation and it is during this time that they explore the problems in each of their relationships and try finding an answer. The conflicts certainly vary for the different generations but the prominent issue that appears again and again is that of the relationship falling into a habit and losing the fervour it needs to be a lifetime one.
It is needless to mention that the actors do utmost justice to the characters they play. The curiosity of one of the sons-in-law to know what’s actually cooking in the life of his father-in-law evokes humour. Very seldom do you come across a film that makes you laugh and cry alike throughout the two hours and 30 minutes. As the story unfolds, it turns out that Biswanath Majumder wanted to make his wife less dependent on him and so, his decision to live separately from her. Also, their expectations from life were entirely different. The wife explains that love for her is the smell of the towel he leaves behind after bath and that for her, there is no difference between loving a husband and loving a family altogether.
Dissecting the film too much would probably not do justice to the subtlety with which the focal point is established and examined. Now, the point is while I loved the film, I also felt that the dynamics that work for the older couple shown in the film would not work for wives today, who are supposedly on an equal platform with their husbands and are in no way dependent on the latter. Also, the compromises that the 70 year old woman could then make would hardly be considered by us. So, what is the message that we can derive?
The message is that couples of the present generation like us should continually strive to keep rejuvenating our relationships. A heart-baring conversation, a walk together, a revisiting of memories together can work wonders in preventing a marriage/relationship from becoming lifeless. As for the habit part, what’s wrong if it’s a habit worth cherishing!
Top pic is a screenshot from the movie trailer on youtube
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