Monday, September 24, 2007

15 Park Avenue

I wish Aparna Sen had made 15 Park Avenue more multi-lingual than predominantly English. That would have made for a more accurate portrayal of urban India. Other than that one complaint, this is an excellent movie. Shabana Azmi is spectacular as the loving but authoritative older sister driven to the edge of despair by Konkona Sen's schizophrenia. Her role in Konkona's life leaves a long shadow upon her relationships with men. Understanding who she is and where she comes from is not exclusive of her struggle with her sister's illness.

She expects a man to accept her holistically and in that Kunal, played by Dhritiman Chatterjee (Konkona's psycharitrist and a married man) does much better than her significant other
Sanjeev (played by Kanwaljeet Singh) who is her co-worker and a professor. Both men are there for her in crisis involving Mithi (Konkona Sen) but Kunal has genuine empathy for her in a way Sanjeev does not. He is merely doing what he is expected to given their relationship.

Mithi's delusions about being married to Jojo (Rahul Bose) and being the mother of five children is beautifully done. She meanders between reality and delusion so seamlessly that it is hard to find the separation between the two. When Jojo (Rahul Bose) returns to Mithi's life quite unexpectedly years after breaking his engagement with her, his own sense of reality is challenged. He has a "real" wife and two kids and is now faced with a woman who is convinced she is married to him with kids. His inner conflict and struggle to reach closure and affirm what he knows to be true rakes up many old wounds and inflicts some new ones.

The end is probably the most satisfying part of the movie. It leaves you wondering about what is real and what is not and why one person's reality is any less real than another's even if they have been labeled schizophrenic by the establishment. Maybe there is more to the world than meets the eye of most of us "normal" people.


ggop said...

The end quite confused me! Your take on it is interesting.

Gtest said...

Hi..i liked the way you summed the movie up...its exactly what i felt but was unable to put it in words..

Good Reading!