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Memories In March  : Life after death
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Friday, April 1, 2011
Sanjoy Nag
Deepti Naval, Rituparno Ghosh and Raima Sen
It’s not just the empty space created by a loved one when he departs. By weaving together all the bereaved, new ties are created. Unknown equations emerge, some difficult to accept, but at the end there’s comfort.

The plot: A grieving Aarti Mishra (Deepti Naval), mother of deceased 28-year-old copywriter (Sid aka Babu), is on her way to Kolkata to collect her son’s ashes. During her stay in her son’s apartment, she starts re-discovering her Babu and gets to know him all over again. Two of Sid’s close colleagues, Ornob (Rituparno Ghosh) and Shahana (Raima Sen) divulge facets of her son’s personality Aarti had never dreamed existed. The three of them get intertwined by happenstance and develop a deep connection. Even as she floats in a sea of grief, she is enmeshed in a welter of new and astounding revelations about her son. Over a couple of days, they all come to terms with stark facts and the inopportune demise, and deal with guilt, anguish and memories in their own different ways.
The good: The restrained approach to the death of a loved one is a breath of fresh air after all the drama we come across in other films. A commendable job by Deepti Naval who plays “the bereaved mother” so convincingly, especially her reaction to her son’s sexual preferences and her bond with Ornob which is sensitively depicted. It’s a meticulous ballad of emotions brought out beautifully through the hypnotic music of Debjyoti Mishra. The shots are aesthetically captured by Soumik Haldar. The performances are decent, Rituparno Ghosh deserves special mention. The narrative is simple and stirring and it does have some satirical scenes, like the last message on the answering machine.

The not-so-good: There are instances when the actors look a little out of character, which make us forget they are bereaved. Raima doesn’t have much to do by way of acting. The film goes on about two or three major issues all the time, which could have been cut down slightly.

Overall: The whole movie is not only different in its theme but has an unusual yet real take and treatment on death, love and loss. It highlights themes related to homosexuality, office culture and the practical life-goes-on nature of human beings.

Outstanding feature: Understated, constrained and subdued emotions in this attempt at experimental cinema.

–    Pooja Thakkar

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