Wednesday, January 11, 2006

15 Park Avenue: Another Jewel from Aparna Sen

for the first time, one gets to see a true picture about everything that is related to schizophrenia - not many films, either indian or foriegn, were able to present a real picture about it until now. filmmakers seemed to be more interested in the mystery that is associated with it rather than the actual truth. but Aparna Sen comes up with a gem of a movie that is very educative, but at the same time there is a strong story in it, ably backed up by some solid performances. She chose to be intelligent by selecting an engaging story line(spanning more than 15 years) for a subject like this; as a result, the film moves at a fast pace. performances are top class - lead by an able Shabaana Azmi, who proves once again that she is one of the best in the business. no one else could have given such a high voltage performance with such sensitivity - playing the caring sister of a schizophrenic patient. watch her changing the gears from a professor to a sister, from a daughter to a women growing old without finding any time for herself. Konkana Sen was not too far behind for her early days in the acting field. if she was appreciated in Mr and Mrs Iyer, Amu and Page 3, this is yet another feather in her cap. she possibly had the toughest of the characters to play and her achievement is in the fact that she never made it look so. Waheeda Rehman did far better than what i expect from the yester year actresses. just watch the scene where mithi, played by konkana, is being sent away to the hospital(after she develops suicidal symptoms) by her own family members. kanwaljit singh, rahul bose, shefali chaya and the guy who played the doctor also played their parts well. good performances and a tight script make the film very entertaining.

the USP about the film in my opinion is the amount of research that was done to make it, and the sensitive manner in which the crucial scenes in the film were handled. the way mithi hallucinates about various things and associates them with whatever she sees on the tv(she believes her (imaginary) husband works for saddam and gets really upset when the news shows that saddam is captured by bush govt). when her sister doesn't believe in something that she has to tell her, she shots back: "How would you feel if i were to tell you that you are not a professor and you are just hallucinating it all??" mithi's doctor once asks shabana what does she see on a side-by table and she replies that she can see a flower vase on it. doctor tells her that he sees a table lamp there and asks her to look at it carefully. when shabana confirms that its definitely a flower vase, the doctor asks what would she see, if hundred people gather around the table and claim it to be a table lamp? would she still be seeing a flower vase over there? ofcourse yes. so whose reality is more real for her? what she sees or what the hundred other people has to say? its the same thing with the shizophrenic patients too - they believe in what they see and feel in their minds and that's as much reality to them as are sunrise and the sunset for the rest of us.

i highly recommend this movie to everyone(just see the number of positive reviews this movie has got), if not in the theatres, atleast make sure to watch it on a vcd/dvd when they get released.