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Konkona Sen Sharma,
Meenakshi Iyer comes from a devout Hindu Brahmin family, purely vegetarian, who not only abstain from meat, but also food from restaurants, is the only child, married to Subramaniam Iyer from Tamil Nadu, has just given birth to a young son, Santhanam, and is visiting her mom. It is then they receive news that her mother-in-law is ill and wants Meenakshi back home in Calcutta. The parents arrange to drop her and her son off at the bus-stand, where they are introduced to a young photographer named Raja Chowdhury. Meenakshi's parents ask Raja to look after her, to which he agrees. The bus starts off, taking it's passengers through scenic hillside. The bus driver comes across a sign that the regular road is closed and he decides to take another route. After a few hours the bus comes to a stop as there is a line-up of vehicles ahead. The passengers are told that there has been a terrorist attack on a train resulting in the death of about 200 people. The region, predominately Hindu, believe... Written by
I disagree with the reviewer who says that this is a film made just to win awards in the West. On the contrary, one would have to be an Indian to understand the nuances throughout the film and I don't think the average Western viewer can appreciate the cultural connotations within the story. I was brought up as a South Indian Brahmin for the first 30 years of my life in an area of intense religious tension that frequently boiled over in violence. Therefore, I do not need a Yale researcher to tell me the meaning of religious intolerance or the background of Meenakshi Iyer's character. I don't think the film gives a biased view of the religious or cultural divide in India. Apart from the scene in the bus, the faith of the fanatics is kept deliberately vague so that we are not quite sure of the identities potential killers or their victims. This is sadly true in today's India where a slight misunderstanding can easily flash out of control. Until all concerned learn to tolerate and respect one another's beliefs while keeping to the appropriate boundaries, the situation is unlikely to change. And Aparna Sen makes a superb job of getting this rather ambiguous message across.
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