Memories in March : Movie Review
Out of the melodrama, this is a practical film of two desolate people, coming close…bonding.
This is a film, scripted by Rituparno Ghosh. And as is obvious, its open ended, slow moving and touching narrative, where you can feel the film, even with your eyes closed, by just listening to it. Siddharth works in an Advertising agency, hard working.. 6 awards winner in just 6 months of work, a gem of a person. He parties late night, drives, meets with an accident, dies. His close friends: Sahana and Ornob. His mother, informed, rushes from Delhi to Kolkata to collect her sons ashes, but goes back with things more than just ashes and belongings. She does back with the relationships that Sid has made over the time, with Ornob, and how it evolved to be gayish in nature. This film is of relationships, about a mother, about a son, about a lover… and about the loved one.
Whats fascinating in this film, is nothing new. It is the script, the magic of Rituparno Ghosh. Discreet, implicit, developing with careful words and meanings. It talks of relationships, but goes not deep into it, revealing not much, and not cliche. The entire film’s portrayal has been of a gay relationship, but the under current of it was that of a mothers love, her nature as a person, her struggle as a person, her confession, and yes, a lovers companionship. Although the striking note of the film was the discovery of Sid’s homosexual preference, the script doesnot go skeptic, neither does it go preachy.
Would like to site “Abohomaan” and “Sob charitra Kalponik”. The reason being, both the films start with the death and goes back to the revelations of the story. In Abohomaan, it was the directors extramarital affair that was hinted upon (Nothing concrete was being told of it), and in the latter film, the wife discovers her husband, only after his death. By the scripts’ permission, in Abohomaan – the under current was of the first wife.. while, the constant hint was the “noti binodini” and “sikha”. In Sob charitra Kalponik, the plot and script was simpler. It was a direct revelation of the poet husband.. his inspiration, work and achievement. Curse this script, or the plot.. this film is of more dimensions, than the earlier two. This film deals less with the one who is dead, but more with the emotions of the mother, and the dead mans’ gay lover. The girl – Sahana was an constant support all through out. The son – Sid is absent all through the film, but the presence, despite his physical absence, is very powerful.
The mother, acted by Deepti Naval, has been a struggler. Divorced her husband 10 years back and her only support was her son. She was a student at Shantiniketan, always smiling, always positive. By profession, she was an art curator..and very dynamic by nature. She confesses, that when she had the divorce, she felt that was the worst day… and that she had lost emotions after hearing about her son. She ‘s an working professional, and from the start of the film there were many “may-be”s, all being cleared by the end of the film… and as is the life – a fast closure helped by the Kolkata corporation. She is a strong lady, who doesnt want anyones favour.. slowly realising that she was taking back more than she thought of. Her feelings of being a mother, discovering her son not to be heterosexual, after his death was an anguished shock, followed by sharp exchange of words with Ornob. But quick to understand and accept all, only to act calm, savour the situation, maintain composure. She went on to express, as a mother she cannot accept her sons’ death…and even if she wishes to and tries to, she cannot feel or understand her son to be gay. She expresses grave concern, for she didnt spare her child time, or that she might have consulted some psychiatrist after her divorce..only to be chided by Ornob on screen. This film is not nagging about the death.. it revolves around death weaving a story of its own. Here the mother is strong, doesnot break down to melodrama, there is no rona-dhona.. only to maintain composure.
This film deals with gay relationship, very thinly.. yet meaningfully. It adds value to all the country wide discussion. It is not preachy, doesnot discuss homosexual relationships at all. And why I suggest that it is not necessarily a gay film as many of the reviews suggest, is that – it is about relationship.. a mother-son, friendly relationships.. more importantly the relationship that binds Aarti and Ornob together, thats the relation of humanity, of companionship. Later in the scene in the car, Aarti expresses that when life heaps “itnaa sa” misery, one cannot stick to the lost or dead love, he/she requires a companion, a companion to hear you, to make you speak, to make you smile.. to care for you. It is this bonding that the film is perhaps about. It is also about the bond that Sahana (played by Raima Sen) and Aarti makes, that of a motherly figure.. Aarti (the mother) goes on to discover more of herself scattered in Sid’s (the son) work place than she expected. Sahana on her part loved Sid, only to discover that he is gay on which was presumably her date with him at the Hyatt.. nevertheless she had been a close companion to him all throughout… designing his home… till his last breath in the hospital. She couldnt really accept his absence, and changes her job.
The wider audience got a small dose of Rabindrasangeet. The background score was of “Eki labonye purno prano… prane sohe” (one of my favourites), and was the nerve of the film. There were two more tracks… I wish my knowledge of Tagore was more than it is right now… I suspect the second track to be a rabindrasangeet from Bhanusingher podaboli, I cannot confirm it though… and the first track was divided to 3 parts… it was about the strange invitation to the house (when the mother was in the sons’ home after his death) and that it was an improper time… to how a stranger guest has become a friend at last (towards the end of the film).
Rituparno Ghosh explained, “In the midst of life, we are in death.. .. Memories in March deals with death once again and goes much beyond it”. This film has already won acclaims, screened at “Pusan International Film Festival” in the “new current section”. It has also been chosen, scrutinised and awarded at the MIAAC New York IFF, Mumbai IFF, Kerala IFF, Chennai IFF, Pune IFF..
I am not eligible to comment on the technicalities… but yes, if I had to make this film… I cannot think of a better way… yes, I would give the film, some more light.. slowly I am becoming a devotee of Rituparno ghosh’s film making and writings.. 😀 Trust me, I wanted to keep it short, but there are some things… which require more space… Go and watch the film.
“The story remains a beautiful tale of complex revelations and even more complex relationships…Watch it only for the beautiful story, narrated in three languages (English, Bengali and Hindi) with a real human touch.” ..DNA India
Cast: Deepti Naval (Arti), Rituparno Ghosh (Ornob), Raima Sen (Sahana)
Direction: Sanjoy Nag ; Script and Screenplay: Rituparno Ghosh.