Film Review – Antaheen (Bengali)

Once while zapping through the channels late at night I had chanced on this very unusual film. When I started watching it nearly half of it was over, so I was curious to know how the story starts. When I got the DVD I could barely wait to start watching it.

The film is about relationships, about the nature of love and about how we express our feelings. But, of course it is an urban story. There are several couples and each couple lives its relationship in a different way. The older couple lives apart but is very much connected. The young couple is connected through e-mails with but does not even know who the other person is. Then there is the elderly aunt, played very successfully by Sharmila Tagore, who also has never seen the man she had a relationship with. Most intriguing, like an abstract painting, is the relationship between Mr. and Mrs. Mehra, who are together but unhappily together.

Relationships in our modern world are not the same as they were a couple of decades earlier. Relationships are based on communications and in an age when the world has undergone a revolution in communications relationships are sure to follow. Naturally, mobile phones and e-mails play an important part in the story. These modern means of communications have made it possible to live with someone only in spirit. The whole meaning of companionship takes on a different colour. The film is a comment on the love that does not need physical proximity, or the love that exists beyond physical proximity.

In this story people are defined by their work. But interestingly the women are shown more at work while the men are shown in their moments when they are not working. It is this situation of work and life that criss-cross which makes the story interesting.

Rahul Bose is an extraordinary actor and this film has made good use of his talents. It is a delight to watch Aparna Sen. In fact, the casting is perfect. The script is tight and crisp, with many interesting observations by the various characters. The storyline, of course, has similarities with the Tom Hanks starrer “You’ve Got Mail”.

Although the story has a tragic end it does bring home the point of ephemeral nature of all human relationships. Live your love to the fullest because you never know when it will go away.

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