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The First Monsoon Day (2002)

Titli (original title)
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Cast

Credited cast:
Aparna Sen ...
Urmila
Mithun Chakraborty ...
Rohit Roy
Dipankar Dey ...
Amar (Titli's father)
...
Titli
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Rukkmini Ghosh
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Ghosh's monsoon gem
26 February 2011 | by (Earth) – See all my reviews

With Titli, Rituparno Ghosh proved again his great prowess as a storyteller and as a director. The movie is a little more than one hour and a half long and yet manages to convey a whole life story within this span. The film starts with a wonderful Bengali song called "Megh Peoner" playing over the opening credits. It is a very melodious number superbly sung by Srikanto Acharya and composed by Debajyoti Mishra. What makes Titli impressive at first is its exemplary depiction of everyday life in a middle-class Bengali family. The scenes, the dialogues and the characters look most lifelike and real, at times so much that I felt like watching an ordinary routine day in the lives of real people. While certain audiences do not enjoy movies of this sort, I personally was completely engaged by the film's proceedings and found it very easy to relate to. The scene in the car with the mother and daughter having a chat about Hindi popular cinema while making their way to meet the father of the family in the airport on the first monsoon day was particularly well-made. I felt almost like a part of the film.

Ghosh directs Titli with great mastery. He pays attention to details and captures the essence of a simple family while telling a compelling story. Titli is beautifully shot and is quite poetic and symbolic in execution, which ensures a greatly fascinating watch. The main plot element of the film reminds me of Hrishikesh Mukherjee's Guddi. Here Mithun Chakraborty is the big star, and Konkona Sen Sharma his die-hard fan. Here she plays Jaya Bhaduri to his Dharmendra, and similarly, her opinion of him changes after she meets him in person. This is quite an interesting concept. But what marks this film the most is the portrayal of the mother-daughter relationship, which is only enhanced by this element when we see that the girl's mother was actually her idol's sweetheart in his young days. The fact that these two roles are played by real-life mother and daughter Aparna Sen and Konkona Sen Sharma contributes a lot to the film's credibility, and well, maybe that's why it looks so convincing. Similarly, the fact that both are terrific actors only helps, because both bring something new to their roles.

Aparna Sen blew me away with her authentic portrayal of Urmila. She brings life to her role by naturally displaying Urmila's graceful nature, her everyday happiness, her care and responsibility as a mother and wife, and ultimately her ability to not let her past take over her present. Konkona Sen Sharma in the title role does exceedingly well as the young and innocent girl who believes she could marry her favourite film star, and later in the film she brilliantly performs her character's disappointment and growing maturity. Mithun Chakraborty is excellent as the film star Rohit Roy. He practically plays himself, but he adds much more to the role, ably showing his general satisfaction from his life and career achievements, but at the same time his regret of missing a chance upon meeting the woman he loved after years. Dipankar Dey provides very good support as Amar. The film's ending is fantastic, aptly concluding the story and bringing the best moment of interaction between the mother and daughter. Titli is one of my favourite Indian films of 2002, I highly recommend you to see it.


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