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Konkona Sen Sharma,
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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
A love story which is real, poetic, romantic, moving and beautiful
I am at a complete loss of words after seeing this sensational love story. Directed by Aparna Sen, a true master of her craft, it is set against the backdrop of tribal war and communal violence. The story starts in a bus, in which a young westernised Muslim photographer named Raja (Rahul Bose) and a traditional married Tamil Brahmin woman with a young child named Meenakshi Iyer (Konkoka Sen Sharma), meet by chance on a cross-country bus ride to Calcutta. The bus includes varied passengers from noisy teenagers to an old Muslim couple to a mentally ill boy with his mother to card-playing men. Raja and Meena had been introduced to each other just before the trip started and they eventually sat together. When she finds out that Raja is actually a Muslim, her first reaction is "Don't touch me!". However, later the bus is suddenly stopped by Hindu extremists looking for payback for a Muslim act of violence. This is one of the film's most heartbreaking sequences. When asked, Meena introduces both Raja and herself as Mr. and Mrs. Iyer, thus saving Raja's life. Upon a curfew, the two leave the bus and find shelter in a remote forest guest-house. That's where the love story begins. They initially do not get along due to differences in their views, but finally develop a liking for each other. From their first real interaction and reconciliation in the beautiful forest to the scenes in which they are forced to cook up stories of their "honeymoon" to different girls who seek for some romantic fairy tales, they get increasingly closer and ultimately fall in love. But one question really starts worrying us: what about the real Mr. Iyer?
Fascinating and engaging, Mr. and Mrs. Iyer is definitely one of the best films made in the early 2000s. It is not a film about Muslims or Hindus, it is about Raja and Meena, or better known as Mr. and Mrs. Iyer. It is a love story at heart, a subtle one, an inhibited one, a poetic one, an authentic one, a heartwarming one. Never does it get sidelined by the film's basic background which is communal strife. It's amazing to see how Meenakshi gradually overcomes her prejudice and learns new things about herself and about life in general thanks to her acquaintance with the intelligent and worldly Raja. The film is beautifully shot, some locations are breathtaking, and everything--from story and direction to cinematography and editing to music and background score--is nothing short of excellent. As for the casting, I cannot see anyone else but Konkona Sen Sharma and Rahul Bose as Mr. and Mrs. Iyer. Bose is fantastic in a greatly restrained act, and as the carefree and kind Raja, sets a great example to all of us of how to live life with passion. Sen Sharma's preparation for the role is more than evident. She is absolutely outstanding as Meena. Everything, from her perfect Tamil accent and dialect to her mannerisms to her worried facial expressions, is so aptly displayed that there seems to be nothing more precise than to say that this incredibly talented lady is one of the finest actresses of recent times. The film's ending is deeply moving. In a few words, this film is about humanity, kindness and love. It shows us how love conquers hatred, and it shows us that humanity and love know no religion, caste or colour. This is an outstanding picture.
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