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Deepak and Anusuya are two very creative people. Deepak is the Creative Director for an advertising agency and Anu a Danseuse who has established a dance school. Dipak stays in Bombay and Anu in Cuttack. Over the years they have drifted apart but they decide to spend a week together in the remote seaside village where they once spent their honeymoon.
Dipak is selfish. His Bohemian lifestyle is disliked by Anu but he refuses to see her side of things. Yet Dipak is also the idealist. Even if he can analyse a situation calmly and cynically, he can also throw up a lucrative contract because it clashes with his ideals. Anu can empathise with the poor, but in every situation it is her dance and her school that come first. She is willing to sacrifice her idealism and even her baby for her magnificent obsession.
Once upon a time, Anu was the sensitive one who could hear the call of the waves. Dipak was the intellectual who could talk about existentialism. But the passage of years has changed all that. Dipak can now be sensitive about the timelessness of nature and Anu is the one who can put up a dance drama and get noticed in the intellectual world.
One one plane, this film is about the clash of these contradictory elements in two supremely creative people. On another plane this is a film about the greed of Man and the desecration of the Earth Mother. Aparna Sen's Yugant is a dark brooding film that does not have a happy ending. It hints at the end of an era but does not raise hopes for a better tomorrow.
Comments: Issues first. Watch this film for some superb photography. The scenes of the sea are beautiful, but it is the shots in the darkness that really are marvelous. Not for nothing did this film win the National Award for best Photography in 1995. I was a little disappointed with the editing. The jump cuts were sometimes a little disjointed. The music is unobtrusive and therefore a pleasure.
I was disappointed with the story and the screenplay (Both by Aparna Sen). I expected she would analyse the characters in depth. The depth was missing. The delineation is based on superficial elements. I also thought Aparna Sen had mixed too many themes and was not able to do justice to any of them. There are too many emotional threads that are not not examined in depth. The Director swings between mythology and science as she moves towards the climax but in the end, she serves up a mish-mash that is deeply unsatisfying. The climax is hugely artificial and leaves you unconvinced.
This film does not leave you with hope. Its dark brooding and often sharply critical. But it does make you think, especially when it deals with human emotions, which Aparna Sen understands. It also makes you seethe at the simplistic treatment of environmental issues and mythology which Aparna sen does not understand is is rather naive about.
All said a film different from the usual Bollywood/Tollywood fare. It was rated the best Bengali Feature Fim in 1996.
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