The Japanese Wife – decent fare during ‘no-good-film-IPL-times’

Posted: April 18, 2010 in Uncategorized
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Aparna Sen and Rahul Bose promised to be an interesting fare, even if it was a Bengali film with English sub-titles. That is how I found myself watching the Japanese Wife, in the only one show available near home, and that in the plush sofas of Gold Class seating!

Not the best seat to be, post lunch on a Sunday, in a slow film. That kind of seat can put you to sleep. And I must be honest, I had to fight hard to stay awake, at times!

The film is a slow moving interaction between pen friends from small town West Bengal and Japan, and which develops into an intimate relationship, albeit only remotely felt. English not being a first language for both concerned, the struggle to communicate to each other, in this “third” common language, is very interesting. Both of them admit to not being very open or having any other close confidantes, and find this exchange over letters to be an immense support system, and become completely dependent on this relationship. That the relationship nurtures to the extent that they actually “get married” over the letters, is the extent to which the intimacy grows. And the amazing part is that the village where Rahul Bose lives, and his aunt as well, accepts this strange, remote relationship, without thinking of him as a loony.

Both of the characters are shown to be truly and deeply in love with each other, caring for the other person, and that feeling being shown in gifts exchanged long distance, caring for each other’s health, and even sharing uncomfortable things openly, which could have easily been ‘not shared’ if they did not want to.

Interesting fare, as an Aparna Sen film would be. Perhaps some nuances were missed, being in Bengali, and I reading the sub-titles to understand the story. Rahul Bose acted well. Although I suspect the voice was someone else’s. The Bengali was chaste, and the English spoken as a Bengali who was not so good in that language, was too good and if Rahul actually spoke, then that was a tremendous job. Considering the fact that he’s a true blue city boy from Mumbai! Moushami Chatterjee as Mashi, the Japanese girl, and Raima Sen and the child actor were all good.

The one other fascinating part of the movie was the experience it gave of authentic life in a small Bengali village, close to a river that would potentially show its wrath every monsoon!

Overall recommendation? Only if you can bear really slow moving films, and appreciate the Aparna Sen kind of cinema, then go and check it out. Rest of you can pass this one..

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