An exploration of the impact of schizophrenia on a young woman and her family in today's Calcutta. The narrative pivots around the relationship of two sisters, older sister Anjali is a ...
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An exploration of the impact of schizophrenia on a young woman and her family in today's Calcutta. The narrative pivots around the relationship of two sisters, older sister Anjali is a successful professor with a powerful personality. She is the anchoring rock for her family and carer for her sister Meethi whose progression into schizophrenia has been speed ed up by traumatic experiences. Anjali has always dominated the life of her attractive younger sister, and jealously warded off Meethi's handsome fiancé Jojo with fear of Meethi's impending illness. Years later when Meethi and Anjali are on holiday in the Hills there is a chance meeting with Jojo, now with his new wife and children. He is shocked to discover that Meethi does not now recognize him, but lives in a world visited by an imaginary husband and children of her own. Written by
Ms Aparna Sen, the maker of Mr & Mrs Iyer, directs this movie about a young girl's struggle to cope with her debilitating condition.
Meethi (Konkona Sen) has been an aloof kid ever since childhood and has shown signs of delusion, no one knows why. The dormant tendency however slips out of control, when the job assignment takes her to neighboring Bihar where she's raped by some political goons. The resulting trauma also leads to episodes of manic-depressive psychosis in addition to her schizophrenia. She careens out of control over the years, progressively getting worse and sinking deeper into her private 'world'.
The juxtaposition of an 'unsettled' (divorced) elder sister and how her domineering ways make an already bad situation worse, is indicative of what a fine line there is between abnormal and *seemingly normal*. Ms Sen also makes an excellent commentary on the social alienation of such individuals. Social rehab is standard therapy along with all the deadly mind-altering drugs. But what about the poor and the destitute, who're always left to fend for themselves and usually fall by the wayside?
The romantic connection between Dr Kunal and Anu was unnecessary. Also the cafeteria scene where Dr Kunal explains to Anu how real their world really is to them, was redundant. Anu should already know all that. The English dialog is a bit awkward at times though the acting compensates for that. Konkona and Shabana prove that their reputation is every bit worth it. Waheeda, Rahul and Shefali play their limited roles very well.
Extensive research seems to have been done about this illness, its very evident. But its not clear if MDP can coexist with schizophrenia in the same patient, side-by-side. Also in the early part, Dr Kunal recommends E.C.T (shock therapy) while invalidating the fact that it doesn't work for schizophrenics, only for extreme MDP with suicidal tendencies and other forms of bipolar disorder.
The ending of the remarkable story is suggestive of an unknown solution (maybe no solution). The movie could have ended on a nicer note, since worldwide the mentally ill can and do lead balanced and fruitful if not very fulfilling, lives under good medical care.
Nonetheless, its an excellent film made with extreme sensitivity to the subject. HATS OFF to Ms Sen! No one in India could've done it better.
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